Chris Moerdyk

E-tolls another example of consumer apathy

2013-09-30 08:02

President Jacob Zuma is an extremely astute and clever man.

He is one of the few people in this country who understands just how apathetic the average South African is when it comes to things that screw up their lives.

I am not in the least bit surprised that he signed e-tolls into law because there will be very little backlash from the majority of consumers.

It will just be one of those many things we have seen in the past that erodes the quality of life of poor South Africans.

The unrelenting increase in fuel prices that government has shown absolutely no intention of trying to counteract by relief measures in other areas.  All they do is blame the depreciation of the Rand and global oil process and leave poor people to try and feed themselves with less and less money.

And apathetic consumers just carry on trying to eke out a living.

E-tolls will become a fixture in our society and even the fact that the charges are a lot less than previously intended by SANRAL, I have no doubt that they will surreptitiously rise to a point where in no time flat the original tariffs will be back in place.

Food prices will rise as transport starts to cost more but apathetic consumers will just try to carry on trying to eke out a living and those who right now can only afford one meal a day will start working on one meal every two days.

While Cosatu has to be lauded for coming out so strongly against e-tolls, there is no doubt that the chief anti-toll architect, Zwelinzima Vavi, will end up side-lined for his sexual misconduct but mostly for having earned the wrath of our president.

And while the trade union movement continues to claim it will fight e-tolls I am not holding my breath because in the same breath they announced they were supporting the ANC in the general elections next year.

It's like teenagers telling their mates that they will defy their parents but secretly telling mom and dad that it's all just smoke and mirrors and could they please have PlayStations for Christmas.

Frankly, I don't think our government gives too much of a toss about poor people.

After all, just look at how prices are increasing across the board at a frightening rate while all that talk about creating millions of jobs has amounted to nothing. In fact, government keeps creating so much restrictive legislation that a casual observer might be forgiven for thinking that government was actually trying to increase unemployment.

The only thing they care about is trying to look good. They blindly follow the maniacs in the World Health Organisation which, if it were a country it would be the world's leading nanny state.

President Zuma is clever enough to know that the majority of population of this country do not associate tough times, starvation and joblessness with the ANC.

That’s why they will keep voting for them.

Nope, e-tolls are here to stay and it won’t take more than a month or so for apathetic consumers to get used to it. Just look how many rushed out to buy e-toll tokens when it wasn't at all sure it would go ahead.

But, most apathetic of all is big business. They will just up their prices to accommodate the extra transports cost caused by e-tolling and let the consumer pay for it all.

I had thought that perhaps I would be surprised and that motorists would simply ignore the toll gantries and that Cosatu would block the roads for months on end.

But they won’t. President Zuma knows they won't. Because he is extremely clever.              
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