Whilst the impeding implementation of the e-tag toll system was met by almost universal disapproval, I had a slight hope that something incredibly positive could emerge from the whole saga.
You see, in the back of my mind I had hoped that this would prove to be a watershed moment in our fledgling democracy, a turning point where we as a people would put down a marker as to who we are, what we stand for, and more importantly, what we will not stand for. There was a strong feeling of being united as a community. Ready to force change for the first time since the fall of apartheid. The government, in all their hubris had provided a perfect opportunity for the average South African to make their voices heard, through the rejection of the e-tag system.
Unfortunately, despite everyone's vigorous vocal dissent, yet again we as a people proved little more than hollow words. Like a house of cards, our resolve collapsed and at last count some 900 000 e-tags have been bought by the public. Yes, and according to Sanral, implementation has gone exactly "according to plan". We as a people should be embarrassed as to how easily we have been manipulated, threaten and quite frankly been played by Sanral and the government. For shame.
Does the rule of democracy not state that the power lays with the people? That the voice of every man, woman and child shall be heard and respected? No. For you see democracy works only through strength in numbers, power through unity, certainty in resolve. On all three counts, we as South Africans fall short.
A failed chance, and a victory that will no doubt allow the government and their self-enriching accomplices to be ever more bold in their encroachment of our rights and freedoms. Like a spoilt child, they know that all they need to get their way is to make a noise, threaten and bully and we, like negligent parents will allow them their way. As custodians of our Rainbow Nation, a nation that brave and selfless people have fought so hard for, endured countless horrors, and bled and died for, we are failing horribly in our duty.
It will be harder now. Our next test shall be steeper hill to climb, and our resolve, our trust in each other will no doubt be that much less because we know how weak our fellow South Africans are.
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