E-Tolling and the farce of false number plates

2012-01-02 08:29

If it wasn’t so frustrating, arrogant and smacking of the worst kind of bullying, this whole business of e-tolling of the roads around Johannesburg would be really funny.

I mean, here we have a bunch of people who seriously think that by taking photographs of cars that don’t carry e-tags will mean that they will be able to track down the owners and make them pay. What a hoot.

Number plates and magistrates

Already there are thousands upon thousands of motorists who drive around with false number plates to fool the speed trap cameras. They never appear to get caught and they cause a lot of heartache for the owners of cars with the legitimate registration numbers they have copied.

You just have to pop down to your local traffic court to hear prosecutors calling out for people who have been falsely summonsed and who have stupidly gone to court with the hope that they can tell a magistrate just how inconvenient it is when some bastard copies your number plate and puts you through the judicial mill.

Of course, no prosecutor will ever let a case like that get in front of a magistrate, so expecting to have your day in court just doesn’t work.

Its my guess that the incidence of false number plates will increase rapidly with the advent of e-tolling, in spite of the fact that we are told those new-fangled Gauteng number plates can't be copied. When you look at the number of fake ID books, passports and heaven knows what else, then no matter how clever those new number plates are the shysters will find a way of copying them.

Which means that not only will SANRAL fail to collect as much money as they thought, but a lot more honest, law-abiding citizens will have to put up with being hounded by fines, summonses and threats that have nothing to do with them.

Almost funny ideas

One really has to marvel at how naive our road traffic authorities are when it comes to trying to manage South Africa’s motorists.

Take this latest idea, for example. Confiscating drivers' licences when traffic cops catch someone breaking the law.

Given that about one third of all motorists don’t actually have driver’s licences, this is going to mean that there will be a heck of a lot of wasted time and energy.

And what about this new idea to cut the speed limit? Since when do South Africans actually stick to speed limits? Quite apart from which, all this will do is cause added frustration and more reckless driving as a result of those few law abiding motorists driving doggedly at the new low speed limit and holding up the many non law-abiding motorists who will do increasingly stupid things out of sheer irritability.

If it wasn't so damn tragic it would be a joke.

All will not be fine

So many stupid ways of trying to cut the death toll on our roads when all that is needed is for traffic cops to be allowed to get out on the roads and be seen to be nailing motorists for moving violations instead of doing what they are forced to do now and that is to spend their days desperately trying to bring more and more money into their corruption-ridden local municipalities with speed and parking fines.

The death toll on SA's roads will not decline until the money factor is taken out of it all.

Rich people laugh at fines; poor people just don’t pay them. What needs to happen is that cars need to be confiscated, impounded or just taken off the road for a while for the driver to cool down and get a life. That’s the only language that SA motorists will understand.

That and the very simple rule of no drinking and driving – finish and klaar.

  • goyougoodthing - 2012-01-02 08:51

    Chris I have to agree with you 110%. I am not convinced that our speed cops want to get off their asses though, they are quite lazy and as corrupt as the municipalities they work for. In Durban there is a little out-of-the-way park at the bottom of Morningside. On any given day you can expect to see up to 10 City Police Vans parked with the officers, in uniform, braaing and carrying on in the park. From about lunchtime.

      Squeegee - 2012-01-02 19:57

      Good article. Until there is visible policing and serious honest prosecution of lawbreakers nothing will change. How many times in your life have you said: "Where is a policeman now"? because of some idiot on the roads?

      John - 2012-01-02 23:22

      Down tolls down! Down Department of Transport Down! Is there not some bribery and corruption somewhere? Perhaps in the German side? Can a lawyer please have a look at this aspect? Ndebele is famous for sending money to his friends! Is there not an anti corruption body in Germany?

      Sheda - 2012-01-03 19:14

      You must be joking. South Africans already buy lunches for cops instead of paying fines. Now you suggest take the car away. I think they will only increase the price of lunches.

      Robert - 2012-01-05 09:18

      um, please dont remove my posts. like i was saying. The Number Plate system will work, this system has been used around the world in some countries. As to the roads at the moment its bad, but it will get better once this E-tol is effective becuase there will be more traffice police on petrol, with the aid of E-tol SYSTEM. Please get your facts straight before creating such articles. thank you

      Morne - 2012-01-05 15:51

      The going rate for a lunch is R100.00 these days.

  • Alan - 2012-01-02 09:13

    I agree with you except you forgot to mention that ALL taxis be taken off the road and their vehicles made into tam tins. They are the BIGGEST cause of death on SA roads and the Government turns a blind eye to them????

      goyougoodthing - 2012-01-02 09:15

      The only logical reason would be that Ministers own the taxis. Makes sense as to why our public transport has been allowed to deteriorate, why taxis get away with not paying fines, are exempted from e-tolls etc etc etc.

      russell.bennett1 - 2012-01-02 09:54

      Actually it's the police that own most of the taxis, and that's not speculation but a stone cold fact.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-01-02 09:59

      Russell where is this info from? Makes sense I guess. Taxis are as dodgy as the police.

      Gungets - 2012-01-02 10:43

      @Alan - do you have up-to-date statistics showing that taxi's are the bigest cause of death. My last stats tell me that 46% of people dying on the roads are pedestrians. I think you might be surprised to find that taxis are not the main cause of death. I am not defending them, I hate them as much as the next guy, but inventing stats does not help the safety cause.

      Squeegee - 2012-01-02 19:55

      Gunguts, did you know that 87.45% of stats are made up on the spot?

      Stirer - 2012-01-03 09:34

      Gungets, my understanding supports your statements. There are more pedestrian deaths (particularly drunk pedestrians) on the road than there are deaths in vehicles. Also, believe it or not, taxis are not the highest cause of vehicular deaths - by number of licensed vehicles on record. It is the high number of deaths shown in a taxi accident that catches the headlines - much the same as an aircraft crash. Having said all that, more corrupt free, and constructive policing for vehicle roadworthiness would certainly reduce road deaths.

  • Nicholas - 2012-01-02 10:31

    Dead on Chris. South Africa motorists have become "threaten fatigued" We are constantly bombarded with meaningless threats at this time of the year which always come to nought. How about strict law enforcement all year round (when most of the deaths on our roads actually take place) then it will automatically filter down to Christmas and Easter. Problem is, no one is listening! As for the new e-tolling ...its all been said already.

  • Pierre - 2012-01-02 10:43

    Draconian laws won't help, it will only incentive the payment of bribes. Normal law enforcement is the answer. If you break a law, you must be fined and payment must be enforced. The motorist must have a better outcome than paying a bribe. for example get 200% of the fine back if you report a cop asking for a bribe.

  • Bruce - 2012-01-02 11:58

    Let the system be known as e-troll , trolls have long been known to be ugly, unfriendly, aggressive creatures that hide by strategic bridges and demand money from harmless citizens who just want to go about their business. What about selling a range of anti e-troll bumper stickers with a variety of suitable curses such as "May your software be hacked"

  • SaintBruce - 2012-01-02 12:12

    I agree with Chris and want to add a few additional points to consider: The E-Tolling system is riddled with serious flaws such as the first one mentioned - no ability to combat cloned number plates. In fact they have no desire to do anything about it as prosecution is seen as easier than prevention. Secondly - in the laws created around E-Tolling, there is NO dispute resolution mechanism currently in place. You, the tax paying motorist, have no recourse other than to pay the fines - even if you can prove your number plate was cloned or you did buy an E-Tag and they incorrectly billed you! Thirdly - SANRAL intends to prosecute an offender once a number of unpaid tolls are outstanding: this is contrary to common law as prosecution must happen when the offence is commited. Fourthly : Access to personal accounts (E-Tags linked to bank account)- SANRAL has not submitted guarantees that registered accounts will not be accessed for fraudulent activities, Fifth: Payment deadlines: SANRAL requires full settlement of tolls within 7 (seven) days of the transaction when our business practice is 30 days (thirty). The best one ..... SANRAL has no 'manual' process for billing. Should you decide not to register, they will simply hand you over to a Violation Processing Centre, which will then take action to enforce payment of the tolls! NICE ONE !...Not - and probably unconstitutional anyway. Inevitably, the Gauteng motorists are probably going to have a mass action protest at this robbery.

  • Jonathan - 2012-01-02 14:22

    The problem lies with their approach to traffic law enforcement. It is all about to catch a motorist and make money. Safety, training and proper law enforcement are not the objective. They should go and learn something about traffic law enforcenet in the UK and USA and they will notice a huge decline in road accidents and deaths just because their attitude is 100% the opposite than in SA.

  • Lehlohonolo - 2012-01-02 14:26

    1)What happens to the taxi-drivers when you get rid of the taxis? 2)Gungets, you are on point, lets not invent stats and lets not 'draw logical conclusions' to things/issues we may not have enough information about. 3)I agree, this is highway robbery and we as citizens should do something about it instead of talking about it. lets march.

  • Jonathan - 2012-01-02 14:39

    If the Gauteng authorities thinks that I am going to pay their e-troll when I am going to vist the grand children twice a year they are dreaming. I am retired not retarded. Like most if not all ANC plans this was not properly thought throug. Just another scheme to make money for their botomless pockets. What happend to the idiot official who approved and implemeted this project

  • Terry - 2012-01-02 15:29

    Chris - the problem with the motorists transgressing the laws, is actually nothing to do with motoring. The fact is that South Africans generally don't obey any laws - they litter as they please, urinate where they like, don't pay taxes if they can get away with it - in fact every rule in the book is generally ignored. So why should South Africans start to obey the law when they get behind the wheel, when everywhere else they don't pbey the law. If you want to improve the situation on the roads, start by embarking on a zero-tolerance approach in every facet of South African lives - but if you did that, every politician would be in jail!

      fjnieuwenhuizen - 2012-01-03 05:10

      I totally agree with you Terry, one must educate the people. South Africans must forget about the mentality that rules are there to be broken, I lived in Pretoria for 56 years, I have been living in Calgary Canada for 4 years. Here rules are abided by, if one breakes the rules there are concequinces, It costs you money and you get de-mereit points your insurance goes up because you are a risk on the road. Here are no corrupt cops here. For the smallest transgression your car is impounded. All your registration and insurance proof must be submitted and you pay a fine before you get your vehicle back. Numberplates are supplied by the City where you live, one keeps your lisence plate forever it is registered to you with the vehicle details on. Insurance is compulsory so never can another driver say "Sorry I have no insurance" Here pedestrians have the right of way, there are only a few pedestrians that get killed every year. Zero tolerance for drinking and driving. Licences are suspended for months to a few years depending on how many times you are caught. All the patrol cars have laptops and are connected to the police network, so the police can verify a number just by typing it in when driving behind you. All warnings given and fines are also on the network. Here the police stations are only open office hours, all the cops are on patrol in their cars in contact by radio or internet on a continouous basis. That is how within 2 to 3 minutes there are cops after a 911 call.

  • ludlowdj - 2012-01-02 15:50

    People who use the toll roads in the first place deserve what they get, it wasn't sop long ago that most of the comments being posted were undertakings to not use the toll road, but as usual South Africans have been bullied by one government or other for so long very few have the stomach to carry through on their convictions, but that's what you get living in a lilly livered population.

      Berkold - 2012-01-02 20:23

      Could not have said it any better myself. Too much talk with no action.

  • Lebogang - 2012-01-02 19:05

    As a black South African who has voted for the ANC for the last 17 years, it pains me to accept that this government does not represent me and does not have my interests at heart. From the arms deals, to the Telkom BEE deal, to municipal corruption, to now the e-tolls, all these are scams to milk us dry while they get rich for doing absolutely nothing. I'm sick of it. We have to resist this. If we don't, we must kiss our country goodbye because they will come up with more and more scams to get rich while driving the country into bankruptcy. You want to know how Greece got into the mess it's in? This is exactly how. People, are we going to let this happen to us?

      AquaticApe - 2012-01-02 19:26

      It is thanks to all the people like you that have voted for the useless ANC (the first 'Liberation Movement' on the continent and the last to achieve it - that must tell you something) that we are in the mess we find ourselves. Next election DON'T vote for a bunch of crooks and get all your buddies to do the same.

      John - 2012-01-03 02:31

      Bravo, for finally waking up to that fact. If the citizens of SA would just ask themselves what has improved for me over the last 17 years? What happened to all the empty promises? They were non starters from the word go. Next time you vote put your X where your mouth is.

      Truthis - 2012-01-03 10:01

      Are you changing your vote next time?

      Angus - 2012-01-06 11:52

      Well Lebogang, at the VERY least, black folks like you who have in effect actively supported the rape, pillage, destruction of SA, should not vote at all in the next election if you want to make a difference for the good. If you can't vote for the DA or ACDP or any other decent party, then just abstain.

  • Gerda - 2012-01-02 21:18

    What happens to all vehicles with foreign registration numbers that uses the e? Free-bee for them?

  • Trevor - 2012-01-02 23:30

    South Africa has become just another African State since the ANC came into power...going on their record as a GOVERNMENT, no race card being played, they have been an utter flop and the only reason they remain in power is because EVERY election like clock work, they play the race card. The day the majority see the ANC for what it stands now, the better for SA but I doubt it strongly...

      John - 2012-01-03 02:59

      Trevor, 100%, the "race card" is the only ploy they have. They certainly can't show any good that they have done in 17 years. They have failed at everything except lining their own pockets.

  • Ruan - 2012-01-02 23:34

    .....anyone spotted "A PIG" lately ?

  • Americo - 2012-01-03 04:38

    This system has just started in Portugal - and it has also come under fire - only there they shoot the cameras off the gantries in protest with high powered rifles from afar - The local authorities have brought in the Republican Guard to guard the gantries - but it appears that all they can do is sweep up the debris and attend to motorists injured by falling cameras

      Linda - 2012-01-04 14:49

      Ha haaaaa! I think that's actually quite funny - except of course for the injured motorists.

      Angus - 2012-01-06 11:55

      Great idea. I definitely support the idea of shooting or destroying the gantries in any way possible. SA has turned a corner under the ANC and now we need to start considering using guerilla tactics to take down thieving, corrupt ideas like this e-tolling!

  • Chris - 2012-01-03 06:55

    as silly as the the new gun laws... chaos and confusion.. not to mention the costs of working an unworkable system

  • Jiri - 2012-01-03 09:24

    To have toll road is correct and the right thing to do. The amount charged is wrong. The method of collection is wrong. It cost far to much and Sanral is having to spend huge amount amounts to collect. The courts will be overcrowded. For goodness sake use computer technology. In the ares where E-Tolling has been introduced make all garages add 10/15 cents per liter to the price of Fuel. Of course there are idiots who will drive to Pofadder to not pay the levy. But so be it. I belief that instead of charging 40 per km the cost can come down to 10/15 cents. What about trucks you say. Well they will pay the same but remember their fuel consumption is far higher than a fuel efficient small car.

  • Stirer - 2012-01-03 09:43

    About the confiscating of licenses by traffic cops .... Your license can only be confiscated (or cancelled) by a court of law, and not by a traffic cop. The police's job is only to enforce the law, and not to be judge,jury and executioner too. (not that they do their jobs awfully well, that is.)

  • Jonathan - 2012-01-03 10:25

    A few years ago I nearly got arrested for a hit-and-run accident involving a child. After investigation it was found that the car involved was a car that I traded in at a dealership on a new car and that the old car was after 2 years still registered on my name. If they can not sort out the basics how do they think will they ever enforce e-troll.

  • ofentse.ramorula - 2012-01-03 16:53

    This morning I was stopped by traffic police for not stopping at a Stop Sign. They were hiding in the nearby bushes some few meters away. After "Yielding" at a four way stop because there was no other visible traffic, you should have seen them running out of the bushes, if I could see them, I would have stopped, but no this does not bring in the moola. Rather hide, wait for the accident to happen and then get the money.

  • Peter-John - 2012-01-03 18:23

    Halleluiah, thank you so much for finally exposing the number plate farce so that Joe Citizen can really understand the debacle that has been going on for the past 5-6 years. Please see our link Proposal and Job Creation.pdf where we offered a total solution,(The full Monty) to the main role players!! In Gauteng, who obviously decided that they knew better or could use our proposal for their own gain? We knew that at some stage the bubble would burst. We have been manufacturing number plates for the past 8 years so can consider ourselves as experts on the subject. Please do not hesitate to ask ANY QUESTIONS, I am sure you will find the answers more than interesting.

      Peter-John - 2012-01-04 07:57

      Please note I fixed the link to the document above use:

  • Gail - 2012-01-04 12:37

    YAY Chris. And have a lie detector back at the traffic department to check all cops who were on road blocks - ask them 'did you take a bribef?' I promise the lie detector would be stolen after the first day. Haha

  • Sean - 2012-01-04 13:03

    Speed trapping is the most efficient way for a metro to collect money via the metro police. They have no interest in decreasing the carnage on the road. The deathtole is in fact used to justify the "sustainable resourse" that the metros milk monthly. If they want to save lives then visable policing of all dangerous driving offences is the only solution. They will never do that because they know it will work and that lovely cash cow will be retired out to pasture.

  • Sarah - 2012-01-04 21:48

    SANRAL built those e-toll elephants of them on roads where there were no toll gates and the number of these elephants far exceed those of the "old" tollgates!!! That in itself, shows that this new tolling system of theirs is just ANOTHER money making there something which they are not telling us??...why are they busy collecting money as if the world is going to end soon and they trying to save enough money for a tickect to Pluto???...this e-tolling elephant was in trial phase, same as the AARTO system, but now, it,s here to stay.

  • Holger - 2012-01-05 11:21

    Re the traffic carnage on our roads, i agree with the notion of letting the police doing their work rather than the forced, laborious task of collecting funds .however should one look at the indea of increases the awareness of drivers by setting stricter and more coherant driving tests- like wet driving and night driving-sure the system is only as good as the workers- but at least we would make a starting point - and as for the taxis, they would need to have a 3 months pratical course for instance as they are ferrying people around and driving vehicles particular to their trade.

  • Angus - 2012-01-06 11:49

    Here's my 2C worth. A central bank account(trust account) should be set up for the entire countries traffic fines to be paid into. This should be constantly monitored and audited by a professional firm, and this firm to also ensure that every cent paid in is used to maintain, upgrade and fix roads. Not a single cent should go to ANY traffic authority. This would not only remove the cops incentive to just man speed-traps, as well as ensure that a lot more folks would actually pay their fines as they would KNOW the monies are being put to good use. A win-win situation.

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