Guest Column

E-tolls: If the government won’t pay, why should anyone else?

2015-07-16 16:20

Alison Visser


It’s quite funny really. The government expects motorists to pay to use Gauteng’s biggest, busiest roads – yet the municipalities in the province haven’t paid e-tolls bills to the tune of R2.3 million.

Before we start celebrating the demise of the e-tag and moaning about the breakdown in the rule of law, it would be prudent to point out that the municipalities with e-tags that owe money – Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Sedibeng, Lesedi and Midvaal – may well be in the process of paying. Anyone who has ever done business with any government department would be able to attest to the speed in which their invoices are settled.

However, the Emfuleni local municipality – which owes about R130 000 – hasn’t even registered its cars for e-tags. This municipality, which includes the town of Vanderbijlpark, falls under the reign of political activist Nomadlozi Hlongwane, who has served as regional treasurer of the ANC in Sedibeng, and who is currently the chairperson of the region’s moral regeneration committee in Sedibeng.

As if it is laughing at the situation and rubbing in the South African National Roads Agency’s (Sanral) R130 000 wound, Emfuleni’s slogan is “the cradle of human rights”. After all, one of the basic human rights as enshrined in the Constitution is the right to freedom of movement – something that e-tolls don’t allow.

Despite an outcry from the public, trade unions and the Gauteng government over the “user pays” system, the national government dug in its heels and refused to back down, even announcing in May that vehicle licence disks would not be renewed if e-toll bills had not been settled.

This would mean that all these municipal vehicles would be on the roads illegally.

Despite people’s – albeit justified – feelings about paying to use major roads, they must abide by the country’s laws, otherwise chaos would ensue.

The municipalities’ attitude to e-tolls is hypocritical. It’s illegal. And sends a very dangerous message to society. It tells the country’s citizens that the government shouldn’t be respected, that laws are there to be broken, and that bills shouldn’t be paid.

After all, if the government doesn’t follow its own rules, why should the rest of us?


SHARE: publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.