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E-Toll Latest News

A few months ago, Wonkie wrote about how COSATU may well be the last hope for South African road users after the Constitutional Court overturned the high court interdict to halt the Gauteng e-toll implementation. After much to and fro in the courts to no avail, the time has finally come for the trade union federation to show its strength.

Now South Africans generally fall into 3 categories when it comes to taking a stance against the government:

  1. Those that sit back and whinge like flaming mad rhinos to everyone that will listen, all the while hoping that some other bunch will be brave enough to actually get something done;
  2. Those that quietly bend over and accept such inequity as a fact of life in Africa; and finally
  3. A minority that will actually take action in some form, despite consequences which might be quite dire.

Ironically, the ANC leadership which quite obviously would have been classed in the third category above during the apartheid era are now facing similar options against themselves. The question now is whether the South African public still have what it takes to make their voices heard and to effect real change when it is needed. And needed it certainly it is right now: the e-tolls not only entrench the legacy of apartheid, notably the Group Areas aspect of it, but is also a poorly thought-out, inefficient mechanism based on flawed arguments of usage-driven fairness. If all things are equal and good alternatives existed, such arguments may have held some sway but in South Africa, all things are certainly NOT equal and these tolls are being applied to existing roads with no equivalent alternative.

So what are the options that may stop e-tolls in South Africa:

  1. COSATU mass action – on Thursday 6th December 2012, COSATU plan to take to the freeways in the early morning and block all traffic at the e-toll gantries. They have also boldly suggested that they can “help” the government dismantle the toll gantries if they need assistance to do so.
  2. Destroying the e-toll infrastructure – No doubt most South Africans are secretly hoping that the COSATU action will result in some serious damage to the e-toll infratructure – think fire and mayhem. Given the clear message that it is a criminal act to do so (i.e. damaging public property) may be a deterrent. But then, if this were a real deterrent during the apartheid-era, most South Africans would be understanding 7de Laan without subtitles and happily carrying along their passbooks to work everyday.
  3. Negotiation with government – it appears that the government is more interested in negotiating the rate of the tolling than they are about the mechanism for collecting the funds, which frankly is the real issue. If South Africans cave in and agree to even some nominal rate now, this rate will surely increase over time and citizens will have lost a good opportunity to nip the mess in the bud.
  4. Gandhi-style peaceful protest – Of course, the Gandhi-style qualification needs to be stated explicitly given that “peaceful protest” in South Africa seems to imply that the use of traditional weapons and blissful stabbing is fine. Wonkie is referring to thousands taking to the freeways holding candles, chanting some local equivalent of Kumbayah, and pledging not to move until the government changes its tune on the e-tolls.
  5. Self-immolation and Hunger strikes – This was certainly effective in the Arab Spring but quite frankly South Africans would be more inclined to burn someone else in protest rather than themselves. Wonkie thought that a Julius Malema hunger strike might have had quite an impact but it would probably result in too much confusion – most South Africans would have no idea what to hope for more.
  6. Civil disobedience – If COSATU’s mass action fails to halt e-tolls, this is probably the strongest remaining option for halting e-tolls. It would mean that the vast majority consciously choose not to pay e-tolls, ignoring government threats of prosecution etc. If only a few choose to do this it is easy for the government to clamp down and penalise the individuals. If everybody does so, it would be impossible for them to manage – the question is are South Africans brave enough to take such a stand?

Wonkie looks forward to reading your opinions and your speculation on what will happen with respect to e-tolling in South Africa – please leave your detailed (or not!) comments below and voice your opinion.

Leave YOUR COMMENT here on the e-tolls latest news, SANRAL and COSATU mass action.

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Related articles on e-tolls, e-tag registration and Gauteng toll fees:

  1. Entrenching the legacy of apartheid with Gauteng e-toll charges
  2. Catch up on the latest e-toll news
  3. Wonkie post on Pretoria High Court interdict: Gauteng e-tolls stopped
  4. Gauteng e-tolls are back – Can COSATU stop etolls?

Leave YOUR COMMENT here on the e-tolls latest news, SANRAL and COSATU e-tolls strike.

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  1. eTolls, its a good thing that they are still haggling for and against, mostly against as COSATU and the media would have nothing else to write about, at least it manages to keep them awake for a change which under normal conditions is almost impossible.

  2. Much as I dislike COSATU, (just look at the chaos they are causing in the Western Cape), I must support their stand here. I hope it is not just a political foofy (anti Zuma, pro Malema, or something equally stupid).
    A peaceful march by ALL South African groups would be great. I emphasise “peaceful”.
    No toyi-toying, that just looks as if everyone is having a jolly good time. The difference in approach should put the wind up those idiots in Government.

  3. The best one can do under the circumstances is to avoid the route as much as possible, and use public transport as intended….oh wait a minute: public transport? South Africa is for dogs since it is a dog eat dog in this country. The whole country kept quiet when unnecessary tolls were added to the N1, and in four years time, they will be erecting a toll gantry in your own gate

  4. Qotyiwe Bongi says

    Unfortunately the planned peaceful marches end up being violent due to opportunist who see a gap to fulfill their criminal deeds, COSATU is the last hope to stop e-tolls, at the same time our government is so used to blood, they won’t listen until they count bodies.

  5. LOL… yeah, some C4 plastic explosives will certainly do the trick. I don’t advocate the use of force but I think the public does need to send a strong and clear message to government here.

    Also, I agree with Wonkie, the focus should not be on the rate but on the mechanism of tolling itself. Even if a low rate is agreed upon now, I can just see it going up randomly later and it will be much more difficult to stop. In all honesty, I really hope the gantries get totally destroyed in the process of the ‘peaceful protest’ – they are an abomination.

  6. if the E-tollers want to see how serious we are, we must destroy the gantries, that is the only way to make them listen. there is no way I am going on a hunger strike when I am already hungry from unemployment, and this gantries are not bringing any form of employment, it is just a money making machinee to support the many corrupt officials of the government and some international syndicate hoping to milk funds out of this country, to hell with E-tolls, I am taking part in the march.

  7. If e-tolling was the only problem this anc/communist government is causing a Gandhi approach would be a sensible way out.

    But what about the theft of ZAR 30 billion a year and The Emperor’s grin that his profitable party get away with it?

    Unfortunately I do not see a “last hope” but a fast approaching calamity in an Arab Spring coming South.

    Take the hungry, the unemployed, the slaves, the destitute, the cowboys with drawing debts, the suicide candidates who wish to give a meaning to their last act and last but not least the least they who know how good life in South Africa can be, all these millions are ready for this communist anc government.
    Ready to remove these criminals from the earth.

  8. No doubt the ANC womens league, the youth league, Ntuli house and the rest of the fat cat government supporters are all getting a cut of the Lottery takings, they are certainly not working for all the monuments, celebratory cakes, yellow/green decorations all over! With the E-Toll in place, government has all the ‘lottery payments’ and don’t have to share with public payouts!

  9. GO for it COSATU. If I stayed in Gauteng, I Would have been there under one of those Gantries with my Van with Cooler Box FULL of ice cold Beer and enjoyed sabotaging the Governments attempt to STEAL MORE MONEY from the PEOPLE. This is a case of THEFT from “CERTAIN” Gov.Officials and some Foreign Company.
    I Live in Durban so i will be there in Spirit. Can a Pensioner of another Race Group become a Cosatu Member

  10. South Africans we see how the Zumagate issue has gone and no doubt the e-Toll issue will soon fade away after the flare-up. When are we going to use the vote to kick this greedy rabble out of government. Night vigils,walks, toyi toyi are no use if at the polls we are going to flinch from voting corruption out of our lives and keep voting ANC – “Angeke sivotele lo Missis” etc. In other countries it is fear of the power of the electorate that keeps governments in line. Yes, individuals may err but here we see a whole government, like a Mafia, bent on thieving the poor poorer they have no respect for the electorate, but we, like sheep, keep bleating “Sizo votela uKhongolose” Aaaaagh I give up!! Vote these idiots out of government for crying out loud stop crying in the rain. We need a government not a Mafia.

  11. I hope after the 6th, most of the gantries will be gone. The powers that be (COSATU in this case) should do some of these demonstrations on Saturdays when they will be able to get better, and more active support.

  12. There are really only to types in South Africa: Those who bend over and whinge. They will bend over and do what the government want them to do and whinge. This type is the loudest just after elections, when the ANC was voted in yet again. When asked if they voted, the answer would be “no, because not matter what the ANC will anyway win the election and do as they please.” It is very difficult to explain to this lot, that if they vote it is one more voice/vote against the ANC, which makes the ANC one voice/vote weaker. The same goes for the e-tolling, they will not take action (bend over) and complain (whinge) all the time and when asked why don’t they do something, the answer will be “but the ANC will anyway do what they like. So it is no use trying to do something”. What I do not understand is that this e-toll gates were build at all. Should the action, complaints, court cases, etc not have happened before the first brick was laid. The toll gates were build as an enormous cost and that costs need to be refunded now. How is the government and the builders going to refund it, if not charging the public for using it. COSATU should have had their action before the building started. Or maybe COSATU hoped to get something out of it, and now it is not going to happen and they are not “complaining” (whinging)? COSATU should have worked this out through talks with their pals the ANC. Now in true South African style, we toi-toi, burn and destroy what we do not like. I can see that a few innocent motorists are going to have broken windows (if they are lucky) on their vehicles. But there will also be a few less lucky motorists who will loose their vehicles (without serious bodily harm we hope). In true South African tradition COSATU followers will march down the highways with their tradition weapons, muti, sangomas, etc and course chaos and havoc as they merrily go along. Another Marakana (mineworkers) in the making?

  13. Go COSATU

  14. I don’t know what all the noise and complaints are about. We will bend over and pay the tolls without a murmur. Same way we bent over and tolerated apartheid for some 50 years or so. It was not the struggle that beat the Nats it was foreign pressure and the Nats themselves.. they knew it was not sustainable just like the new tolls are not sustainable. Like apartheid they will eventually do away with it because the costs will be too high.
    But for the moment it is seen as a good thing because it will create 500000 jobs in a new police force and judiciary to enforce payment. (and hopefully catch the crooks who will scam the system). Hopefully for the DA,Cope, IFP, NFP, AZAPO and any other hopefuls it will bring down the ANC with the gantrys.

  15. dennis smith says

    how are all telkom vehicles going to pay when they are all registered in eastern cape?good luck to cosatu and shame on the white population,who should stand by cosatu.the white man i,am araid has lost his dont cry when you get screwed.GO COSATU time the fat cats were put in their place

  16. Revelations that a “cartel” controls our toll roads left a bitter taste in the mouths of many people. Decisions about the expensive Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project have been clouded in secrecy, in the same way as the multimillion-rand arms deal. The government runs the risk of being embarrassed and of turning normally law-abiding citizens into defiant law-breakers. It’s annoying when our elected representatives turns a blind eye on service delivery and make dubious decisions without taking into consideration the financial havoc they will unleash. The government knows exactly, it has motorists cornered, but are transparency and efficiency too much to ask? An efficient way must be found to finance our national road networks.

  17. Surely the monopolies commission should get involved.

  18. I have it on very good authority that the e-toll system WILL go live on 16/01/13 – no matter what COSATU or the road using public put forward. I was part of the “Freeway Crawl” (lost most of my workday, but man, what an experience to actually be part of the crowd to show my support for the cause!). The sacrifice was most definately worth it. If the date above is in fact already “cast in stone”, why are we still trying to fight this demon in court?! Mr Duvenhage….you have the support and admiration of every level headed road user in this country! Why don’t they just increase the NATIONAL price of fuel by R 0.02c/l? The additional revenue will be way in excess of what they envisage collecting at the gates, with virtually no hassles! The argument being touted is: “why should I pay more for fuel, if I live in Joubertina and do not use the Gauteng roads at all? My response to this would be: To my knowledge, virtually every single item shipped around in this country, has at some stage of its’ production/manufacture been transported on these roads. These upgraded roads/freeways have aided in getting that item to you fresher or faster. You DID benefit, even in Joubertina!

  19. Dont worry motorists the e-tolling wont work there will be a plethora of litigation which will block up the courts, they will have to hire another corrupt police force to make people pay’ the suburban roads will get wrecked and become jammed. The whole thing will become unsustainable and they will have to abandon it.
    Whoever came up with this cockamamy idea should be fired.

  20. Iv opted not to pay I think my last bill was in the region of R20k whether it goes on or not im still not paying!! And has anyone even questioned the ethical errecton of a etoll gantry just meters away from the Gosforth toll plaza?? Its a double knok!

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