Like many others on this site, I’m anti-e-tolling and I’ve so far resisted the temptation to buy an e-tag.
However, I’m a regular highway user, by which I mean I drive from Joburg to Pretoria and back daily, so I guess it was inevitable that I would be among the first to be tracked down by Sanral. On January 3rd, I received my first sms and then, a few days later, an invoice arrived in the post.
I checked the invoice carefully against my own diarised gantry record, hoping for inaccuracies, but unfortunately there weren’t any. And it was unquestionably my car in the pictures.
But here’s the thing that isn’t mentioned by Outa, the Justice Project, the AA or any of the other websites I’ve visited….namely that the amount shown on the invoice is exactly THREE TIMES the standard fee for non e-tag users displayed on the gantries.
I pass under two gantries each way to and from Pretoria. The fees on those gantries are R6 50 and R5 34 respectively, yet the amount on the invoice for passing under those gantries is R19 50 and R16 02 respectively. So instead of a total daily fee of R23 68, I’m being charged R71 04. Even if I pay up more-or- less immediately and qualify for the 60% discount, I’m still paying R28 41 a day. If I were to register for an e-tag, I’d be paying just R12 25 a day.
So this is the way Sanral is combating those of us who’ve pledged not to pay e-tolls on principle….by trebling the standard fee and scaring us silly with regard to the massive total fee building up against our names.
Those of us who use the highways daily will be the first and hardest hit and the ones Sanral will target first. And if I don’t pay my bill, I’m likely to wind up owing a monthly total of around R1 600 whereas if I had an e-tag, the monthly total would be R270.
I’m sorry, I can’t afford the possibility of being a sacrificial goat, of being taken to court and being forced to pay R1 600 a month (or go to jail) on top of a R3 000+ monthly fuel bill, so I’m going to compromise and pay the R28 a day – which adds up to just over R600 per month – and I’m going to hope like hell the DA wins Gauteng in the upcoming elections and that Mmusi Maimane keeps his election promise to scrap e-tolls!
If the DA doesn’t win, then I’m afraid that, come the middle of the year, I’ll have to give in and buy an e-tag…… or maybe it’s time to work out if I really could get to work using the Gautrain!