Second Take – Read my lips: I won’t pay e-tolls

2012-02-25 10:05

I will not pay the proposed e-tolls, finish and klaar – whether they come in at 66c per kilometre or 30c, as announced this week by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

This is daylight robbery.

Should we pay them here in Gauteng, we will be letting the entire nation down because this is only the beginning.

This bully ANC-led government will take that as a green light to bleed the already dry residents of all nine provinces.

Here are my issues with these e-toll fees:

» The public was never consulted before the R20 billion debt to upgrade roads was incurred;

» South Africans are already overtaxed, with about 45% of our income going to tax, not to mention having to pay a 14% VAT on most goods and services;

» We were promised that hosting the 2010 Fifa World Cup was going to have enormous spin-offs for the nation, with one of them being beautiful and safe roads; and

» The general fuel levy on petrol and diesel, which will increase by 20c on April 4, and the Road Accident Fund contribution, which will increase by 8c to 88c a litre, should be enough to cover road upgrades and maintenance.

I speak for many other Gauteng residents and South Africans at large. We do not have the extra R500 a month. To me, this e-tolling system is like punishing us for going to work.

I like the idea of improving the public transport system, something that should have happened a long time ago.

Why didn’t government start with that before introducing the e-tolls so that people can have an alternative?

Our public transport system is appalling and I regard it as one of the worst in the civilised world.

I think you should pay the entire R20 billion debt rather than the special appropriation of R5.8 billion.

Then we can sit down as a nation and come up with a strategy to circumvent the situation where citizens are overburdened with unnecessary expenditure.

I fully support Comrade Zwelinzima Vavi on the march to protest against this horrible system. And, coincidentally, something I never envisaged in this lifetime has happened.

I find myself in bed with many of the voices of the opposition as they articulated very clearly the devastating effect that e-tolls are going to have on ordinary consumers like myself.

In fact, I would go a step further than Vavi’s suggestion and say we should park our cars on the affected roads where these monstrous gantries have been erected.

That might show this stubborn government the might of the people. Let’s see them tow all those millions of cars away.

» Mseleku is City Press’s sports editor

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