Before I touch on the controversial e-toll debacle I would like to remind you about a fuel price increase, which is due to come into effect in June. The petrol price will increase from between 48 to 52 cents per litre and diesel, between 52 to 56 cents per litre. Illuminating paraffin will increase by 50 cents per litre.
I’m shaking my head, as well. It’s pathetic! Don’t worry though because the caring (I use the wordcaring in a sarcastically) people who run our country gave us some good news yesterday.
In case you didn’t hear, let me enlighten you with the important bits… basically e-tolls are here to stay and pay and pay, you will. However, according to Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, we will be paying at significantly reduced rates. See, I told you, they are caring people and who doesn’t love a good discount? (Again with the sarcasm).
Let me explain the tariffs in more detail so we are all on the same page. According to Ramaphosa the tariffs for light motor vehicles will be reduced from 58c/km to 30c/km. Light motor vehicle drivers will also enjoy a reduced monthly cap of R225 per month, down from the usual R450. These discounts will apply whether you have an e-tag or not. Road users will also be granted 30 free gantry trips per year, so do use them wisely. To be honest, I wish cell phone service providers would introduce these types of benefits because despite the fact that I do not like or agree with the e-toll system, the reduction in the prices are substantial and will lighten the impact on our pockets.
I know what you’re thinking… you’re probably sitting there contemplating your options. You haven’t paid a single bill and you don’t plan to start now, regardless of the discounts, right? Well unfortunately for us, the government has considered all sly tactics and have decided they will not renew your vehicle’s licence until you’ve paid your e-toll bill in full. Damn! Didn’t see that one coming, did you? Also, if your vehicle is unlicensed, insurance companies will not pay out should you be involved in an accident. This could result in a bunch of unlicensed and uninsured cars roaming the streets.
What about those who have outstanding e-toll bills? Well, Ramaphosa announced that e-toll fees currently outstanding will be discounted by 60 percent. Road users currently in arrears will have six months to pay. Outstanding e-toll fees will be linked to the license renewal system and that road users will have to settle their bills with Sanral before new license discs will be issued. Unfortunately, some road users and companies have such high bills that six months is definitely not enough time. This can and probably will spell disaster for these companies and their employees.
Public transport will be exempt from paying e-tolls however, from listening to the radio and other media sources I predict many arguments will be raised in the next few months. The e-toll debate is a long one, filled with many dark areas. The questions are numerous:
Unfortunately, the people making the decisions (on our behalf) don’t actually pay for fuel and I’m pretty sure they won’t pay for e-tolls. Mr Ramaphosa, show me your fuel bill and show me your e-toll account that’s been paid for by you and not subsidised by the government, which is being subsidised by the people of this country.