There has been a great debate surrounding the e-Toll with some claiming its going to disadvantage the poorest at worst. I have been of the same view until that one Saturday when I was having beer and whiskey with my friends in anticipation of game between South Africa and New Zealand; the Rugby Championship of which later we ended up losing 38 points to 27; I am South African. Well that’s another topic altogether; my focus is on the e-toll.
I have been very ignorant when it comes to the e-Toll issue except that I have been against its implementation from the beginning; purely because it will definitely and directly affect my pocket; as small as it is. That’s some true story, the pockets that is.
My information is purely based on what I have read and heard in the media world and have tried to listen from both opposing sides; the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) versus SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) and the government to be honest, the ANC particularly since this was proudly brought to us by them as the DA claims; how true is that, it’s a matter of one’s opinion I guess. I would like to base my arguments and submissions purely based on that and I would try to be as fair as I can but obviously biased towards my small pocket.
I would like to share this link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hNYrcU5Hh4) and highlight some few points that I would really like to dissect, credit be given to my beer friends although they were completely off the bull’s eye, at least they made me realise listening is better when arguing amongst intellects and you are just John Drinkwater. If you have not watched the video, I hope you follow argument very well.
This is what the presentation says;
1. The Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) was necessary; I also agree.
2. The funding of this project should have been done through fuel Levy. I also totally agree considering that 55% (45% to Road Accident fund) of the fuel levy is really not accounted for; so yes, WHERE DOES IT GO TO?
3. The debt needs to be paid. I initially agreed on this one, with some reservations. My reservations being that someone still needs to account for the under budgeting of this project and none so far has been held accountable. Well; my intellectual friends convinced me that you will never find a project that could be projected to zero deviations, although I was not looking for that but anything above 100% is unacceptable. Well, they even told me that private companies sometime drop projects because of unforeseen costs and factors; so why is it a problem now that it’s the BLACK government?
BOOM, there it is; this seems not to be about how do we resolve this but it has now turned to be a political point scoring ground. I would like to disengage on the race part; first because I am black and I still do not want e-Toll. Well gain I was told that if it was not for the BLACK government; I would not even have e-toll to write about and print stickers to put at the back of my car, but would rather be working for Miss Zille or her white friend and elite few. Okay; that part is possibly true but that’s just reporting on the unknown and I completely ignored it.
It should also be noted that the toll gates, for example from Johannesburg to Durban make more money in single trip in comparison to daily use of the Gauteng roads. Sadly; I have never heard anyone complain, HHmmmm, black or white; let’s leave it there.
It has been suggested on the video that there are options this big debt could be repaid, the following he considers;
1. Additional Fuel Levy or taxes.
That’s totally out considering the price of fuel is already high and the same should be said about taxes;
This will directly affect the people who use public transport and purely depend on it, of which in the user pays mechanism; they are protected as the public transport is exempt.
Why should people who have never been to Gauteng and struggling as it is be affected by something that is for Gauteng community?
2. Gauteng contributes about R400 Billion to the National Revenue; so others should also pay;
I am not from Gauteng and it’s only fair that Gauteng contributes a small fortune of where I come from. It would not make sense why I should not contribute to my birthplace.
Besides; there are other provinces that are support structures in the development of Gauteng; like those with harbours and fisheries.
3. Take 0.2% money from the treasury;
This is the same as increasing fuel levy; somehow people who do not live in Gauteng will be adversely affected;
Do not be fooled that I will not form part of the protest against e-tolling but we need to be fair that; we as the Gauteng users and only us are responsible for the debt we should try and be accountable. All I am asking from SANRAL and the government is to be reasonable; R550 is too much for maximum use.
I know that there are possibly two trusted way of raising revenue; either price or quantity. I know ideally the project was undertaken to minimise the quantity BUT I still feel your price issued the worst choice. So Please think again.
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