The E-Tolls debacle, from a different perspective…
An extract from the Anime Psycho-Pass
“Because it’s illegal, and I can’t overlook a crime.
-Why are you going so far to obey a law that can neither judge a criminal nor protect the people from its wrath?
-The law doesn’t protect people, people protect the law. Humans have always fought against evil, and sought out a righteous way of living as a group. Those feelings, the accumulation of society’s feelings are the law. They aren’t just provisions or arbitrary rules; they’re the fragile and irreplaceable ideals that we all carry in the deepest recesses of our hearts. Compared to the power of anger and hatred, they’re something that can quite easily be broken down. People have prayed for a better world since the dawn of time, hoped for a better future, sacrificed their own freedoms for its sake. In order for those prayers to hold meaning, we have to protect the law, that promise of a better world to the very end. We can’t just give up on it because it’s flawed. “
“Laws are a manmade construction, an agreement we all make with each other in a hope for a better life. Enforcing laws unworthy of protection is a betrayal of that pact, a shaming of that hope. You shouldn’t underestimate humans. We’re always striving for a better society that meets our ideals, and one day someone is going to find that better way. And when they do, they’ll march into this room and shut you down! The sibyl (E-Toll) system has no future; you’re on borrowed, no stolen time!”
It may have come from an animated show, however the themes within are comparable to our current E-Toll system and the state of government. E-Toll System is very similar, in that it hides behind weak arguments that justify its existence. The government seems to forget their place. I’m not here to tell you how to run a country. This is an aspect of governance; their duty is to the people, and to improve the conditions of living. How they go about that is their concern, they are being elected and paid for their expertise to make a better future for those that they govern. If at some point that element has been discarded or forgotten, it is our duty to step up and point out the flaws. E-toll is one of the very many flaws that are currently plaguing this country. There are many more serious concerns, yet the government is adamant that this system is just, and continues to put all their might into ensuring the success of this system. I do not see them applying the same effort into areas such as crime, poverty and racism; all of which outweigh the importance of E-Tolls. E-Tolls may be lawful, but we the people will rise up and enforce our own laws to protect ourselves against this anarchical farce!
Let’s look at it from a different perspective. The price of Petrol goes up by 15c/l. Let’s assume that a person would use 40l of petrol per month. This equates to approximately R6.00 extra on petrol costs. It is common knowledge that whenever petrol prices rise, there is concern amongst the general public. A mere 15c increase is enough to impact many citizens. Aside from the little extra, inflation has not even been accounted for. I will not dwell on the statistical possibilities of petrol and its effect on society.
My point being, even a registered E-toll user could pay up to R400 a month, this is 66 times more than that of the effect petrol could have. My question is how can this even be feasible? Surely somebody responsible for such a system could have the mental capacity to come to the same conclusion I did.
Petrol is a necessity for everyday living, and hence this is why we are forced to pay these expenses. Additionally, road costs are included in the petrol price. E-Tolling is a system brought about by government, and does not have the same conditions of petrol. There is absolutely no way one can expect the average person to include E-Tolls in their daily lives. We are already paying a small fee within the petrol price for Road Maintenance. E-Toll prices are nothing more than an illusion conjured up by money-craved officials with complete disregard to the national populace!
This system could have accomplished so much more. In theory it could have had gigantic advantages to the country. Its implementation however is where the mistake lies. If the price per gantry were 5c, nobody would really complain, and profits could still be realized. E-Toll cameras could have been used for so much more, as speed cameras to regulate traffic speed, as points to detect stolen cars or abnormal vehicles. Instead, this system was introduced with inflated prices, giving the impression that it is a scandalous system owned by people looking to make an unprecedented amount of profits. Can you really blame the average person to believe that this system is fraudulent, when it is so aggressive in its economical justification? Perception and first-impressions are monumental in introducing changes. The very fabrics of these 2 criteria were blatantly ignored by government. As of right now, E-Toll opposes the right to live freely, and is currently seen as a martyr in the eyes of society. With experience, you'll intuitively know at first glance when someone's up to no good, the same can be said about this system!
They say that fools learn from their experiences, while the wise learn from history. History has proven time and time again that an autocrat system cannot function, and its regime will always crumble at the hands of the innocent. Our government continues this cycle where they cannot extract information from the past and mould a better future out of it. Instead they remain ignorant to the perils of the nation, and continue to be oblivious to the voices of the people. I cannot stand idly by and watch as this country is ruined. At some stage, someone will have to hear our cries, if not, we will cry harder, and if you still refuse to listen, then we will make you see our cries, and if you are blinded by greed, then we will make you feel our cries. One way or another E-toll will be abolished! The E-toll may have been justified in the court of law, but by no means shall we accept such a thoughtless system!
I may not be the most influential or wisest person, yes I play games, and watch anime, and go about my daily life in a way that others deem unconventional, however I can think for myself. I would not normally give a crap about this system, nor shall I ever resort to paying a cent towards this abomination! Unfortunately there are people around me, my father included, who stands to reason with this system. They can see the evil within it, but place the law on a pedestal and grant it the freedom to dictate their lives. They seem to accept whatever is thrown to them as if they were beggars and do not challenge the thoughts of others. My life as I know it has changed because of this system, small things here and there, but they add up and amount to greater problems in the future. Percentage increase per year, new court systems just for E-Tolls, extortion of money, unsecured information, unsecure websites, lack of planning, burden on the public are all examples of why this system cannot be allowed to function. Have a look at Nintendo, one of the largest companies in the world. They released a console which failed to reach its profit margin. In order to compensate for this, the CEO and other high ranking administrators had their pay cut in half, the selling price of the console dropped significantly too, and other steps were taken to ensure the smooth running of the company and its console. I then turn my head to E-Toll, and laugh uncontrollably at their sheer lack of a business mind! Till today I am yet to see groundbreaking steps taken to not only make E-Tolls a just system, but to give the general public trust in a system and its aristocracy.
I leave you with a final quote from the anime:
“Even though you know there are other, wiser ways to live, if you turn your back on it, everything you have built becomes a sham.” — Masaoka Tomomi