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Who will e-toll leave in titters and tatters


SO, Mr Zuma is about to flush R905 million down a toilet, into a drain that runs all the way to Zimbabwe.

Furthermore, our picturesque homeland is also in discussions on whether to help fund Zimbabwe’s upcoming elections, set to take place in the second half of the year. That’s another R1.2 billion, by the way.

To make it sting a bit more, let me also repeat everyone’s first reaction to such news: that’s our tax money!

It is indeed, but such news eventually leaves the media and we’re back to leading our ignorant lives. I say ‘ignorant,’ because for psychological survival, we have to forget that these things happen to us, because every time such nonsense does happen, our resentment levels prove to be indeed limitless and that’s just bad for body, mind and soul. Anyway, we don’t live in Zimbabwe, so we’re not confronted with these wastes every day and all our moaning mostly disappear.

Resentment we do face with every day, however, is towards those weird white things on our highways with its pretty purple lights at night. They remind us every few kilometres of how we are being screwed over by the government (or Sanral, if it dulls the pain a little). These constant reminders of our even-more overtaxed future mean that this conversation never ends. It also doesn’t matter how sick we get of hearing the word ‘e-toll,’ because it’s a topic we cannot ignore. The only way this conversation will end is by acceptance: when we poor fools accept what is being done to us, suck it up, pay Sanral its monies and carry on.

But said acceptance will, of course, never happen.  According to the e-toll website, you will get screwed over 11 times during a round trip from Beyers Naudé to Lynwood, amounting to R63.14 if you travel during peak hours and don’t have an e-tag. That’s a lot of money. You may think that that example is a tad extreme, but a surprising amount of people do that commute every day.  

If you’re not a Gauteng resident and are somehow reading this, you might grin at the fact that you will luckily not be affected by this disaster. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but e-toll will affect the prices of all consumer products coming from Gauteng, meaning you are in essence a poor fool too. It probably will affect you even worse, because while many Gautengers will simply choose not to pay their e-tolls, you will have no such choice.

I can just imagine all the newly whitened teeth glistening in the afternoon sun as all the execs smile about the fortunes they are about to make out of our rat-race lives. How could it have been easier? Erect those weird white monstrosities while reconstructing Gaunteng’s highways, scare people into buying e-tags (because it will be much, much cheaper than if you don’t), press the ‘on’ button and voila!

Unfortunately for Sanral though, things didn’t go exactly as planned. The populous took to the streets in numerous strikes that almost brought Johannesburg to a standstill. Having not even digested this turn of events (did they not see this coming?), it was slapped with a summons.

We found out recently that, regardless of the fact that the case is still in court, Sanral will activate the system anyway. So what do we - the e-toll targets - do now?
Most people’s answer is simple:  ‘nothing.’ We do nothing.
Many people are, in fact, passionately calling for all of us to stand in together in camaraderie and not pay our tolls.

Now we all know that in the bigger picture, South Africans aren’t very good at that. I do, however, see no problem in this case. We do - unknowingly - stand together as a nation in not paying our fines - which is a crime, in case you needed reminding. Not paying your e-toll bill, on the other hand, is not a crime.

And besides the fact that it’s not a crime, it will be fun not paying it. After all, how many chances in life to we actually get to stick it to The Man?

Now saying this is all fun and games, but not everyone will want to play this game. 
Many people - whether out of principle of not being able to afford it - will abandon the highways for shortcuts. On second thought, this scenario might actually be Sanral’s original idea of how to relieve congestion on the highways (although then it will obviously lose money in that case, but I’m sure there’s some kind on ‘logic’ in there somewhere).

This rerouting of traffic will obviously have a side-effect just as irritating as congestion on highways: congestion in suburban areas and even worse congestion on the main streets. Which also begs the question: who will pay for that damage?
It’s no secret that the e-toll system doesn’t have the infrastructure to hunt and prosecute all the non-paying road users, so I suppose that, if e-toll gets the official go-ahead, it might not be a question of what we as the public will do, it’s more a question of what Sanral will do.

And whatever they decide to do, it won’t be done without resistance, what with that big target they put on their back.

Unleash the fury!

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