The biggest protest action that South Africa has seen since before 1994, took place on the 7th of March and set the tone for the later anticipated annual strike season. Thousands gathered in thirty-two locations across the county to voice their frustration towards labour brokers and the controversial proposed e-toll system.
In Johannesburg people gathered in bright red shirts on the Beyers Naude square with signs like ‘Stop e-toll, Stop daylight highway robbery’, ‘e-toll se moer’ and ‘e-thief’. E-tolling is the taxation of the use of public highways in the Gauteng province and the government argues that it is a must for the growth of infrastructure. They further assure the people that it will not affect poor South-Africans. It will mainly be a burden borne by the middle-class and rich.
On a teacher's salary I hardly qualify as middle class, and I cannot speak for the rich, but allow me to say; the cash cow has been milked dry! Recently published figures by the Financial Mail suggest that the average tax payer pays up to 43% in taxes. This may vary because of different lifestyles and income levels. Some economists even suggest figures as high as 65%.
It’s not hard to imagine how this is possible if you start adding up income tax, VAT, fuel tax and levies, municipal taxes, electricity levies, a TV and car licence, CO² emissions tax etc. etc. ect. We further pay school fees, health care insurance, car and household insurance and possibly even your friendly neighbourhood security watch.
The thought of giving away 43c of every hard-earned Rand is a lot like an unkempt pig pen – disgusting!
Government further argues that the money has to come from somewhere. Money that should have ideally been used for education and health will now have to fund the improvement of roads. Why really? Why not take it out of the 1.5 billion squandered on luxury government cars, parties and hotels?
Any good farm girl will tell you that trying to squeeze milk from an already dry udder will eventually result in a kick in the face. To anyone from government and SANRAL trying to impose this unconstitutional system on us; clean up your own bloody pigpens first!