MyNews24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

The Fox 5366
Comments: 237
Article views: 3970
Latest Badges:

View all The Fox 5366's badges.

In Defence Of E-Tolling

06 January 2014, 20:20

Before the ‘smart’ alecs jump into the comments to claim that I'm an employee of SANRAL, I am not.

Like a growing number of Gauteng motorists, however, I do have an e-Tag fitted to my car's windscreen; I have topped my account up with my real hard-earned money; and I disagree with most of the arguments raised against e-Tolling by the many trolls online.

I think everybody understands the following facts:

1: In terms of the law, e-Tolling is completely legal

2: All state infrastructure is paid for by you and me, through some form of Government taxation (whether fuel levy, VAT or PAYE).

3: Your approval as an individual is not required for each and every act of Government: that's the whole point of democracy. People vote in a Government and delegate their power to it - anything else would result in a hopelessly hamstrung system with no investment ever being made.

I am AMAZED that some people are publicly advocating that others break the law, by deliberately driving on a clearly-signposted tollroad with absolutely no intention of paying. I’m fairly confident that that’s a criminal act in itself – being an accessory to the crime?

The insistence - roughly paraphrased - that 'I demand to see a invoice with photographs of my car passing under the toll booths hand-delivered to me by Jacob Zuma himself' is something I cannot fathom. As I understand it e-Tolling is legislatively different from traffic fines, so are not prosecuted under AARTO’s rules.

Do these people not know that a system doesn't have to work the way they personally want it to, for them to be legally liable to comply with it?

Driving on a toll road with no intention of paying is a bit like shop-lifting: you are deliberately breaking the law with full knowledge, but in these people's case they feel that it's ok right up until the point that a criminal summons is hand-delivered to them.

Something these people also do not address is the REAL crux of the issue: it is my understanding that fuel levies are not ring-fenced, meaning that money intended for road infrastructure is being spent by the Government on other social welfare projects. The situation is so dire, in fact, that Nazir Alli has conceded that South Africa is facing a back-log in road infrastructure investment worth hundreds of millions. 

Again, there is nothing inherently wrong with this - just like you're allowed to take money from one item of your budget to fund another, Governments can and do shuffle State funds to meet prioritized demands.

If we assume for a minute, then, that the only way that the Government COULD afford to upgrade the Gauteng highways was by taking out a huge loan and implementing a 'Pay As You Use' principle to recoup the expenses, what were the alternatives?

What exactly are the e-Tolling protesters protesting?

Is it:

1: The Gauteng highways didn't need upgrading. They were perfectly fine as they were.

2: There was in fact money for the highway upgrades, and the Government just implemented e-Tolling to steal more money?

3: There are more efficient means of raising the same funds than e-Tolling, and therefore e-Tolling as a system should be summarily dismissed regardless of the personal legal implications?

Ok, so here’s where I tie all of the above together.

By all accounts, the Gauteng highways DID need upgrading, and the upgrades have been hugely successful in improving traffic flows.

Then are we assuming that we have proof of a massive Government conspiracy, deliberately defrauding innocent citizens: no proof is needed, because the ANC is automatically trying to steal your money all the time, so it follows that e-Tolling is no different?

I don’t have access to all the Government finances – sometimes I get the feeling even the Government itself doesn’t have the full picture – but simple logic does imply that there is most likely a shortage of funding on a national level. There are simply too many poor people and too many social development projects, and not enough tax-payers.

Which brings me back to my earlier question: what is the alternative here? If Nazir Alli had stood up on e-TV News one night – not SABC News, that’s all Government propaganda of course – and with hand-on-heart requested from all Gauteng tax payers their specific permission to invest extra money if they wanted better roads, would the outcome have been better?

No. Not a chance.

Ok, so what makes THIS special? The Government decided to try out the completely novel experience of placing a sub-set of taxation into the control of the citizens, and we have wholeheartedly proven that this was a Very Bad Idea. It’s ironic that we keep demanding transparency from the Government, and yet it appears we’d be happier if they just took the money from us via harder-to-detect means (like fuel petrol price hike written off the ‘rising oil prices’). Well done on that, not.

At the end of the day, the only things lying between a civilized society and complete anarchy are the following: a personal ethical belief that it is a good thing to be law-abiding; and the enforcement of the law.

So far as a province many people in Gauteng have proven just how little they care about the first point, so it’s now time that they discover the second part the hard way (and I understand that there are warning smses doing the rounds, although some of those might be scams by clever con artists).

I’m greatly saddened by the vitriol that the staunchest critics of e-Tolling have targeted at otherwise law-abiding citizens. We don’t hate people for stopping at red traffic lights, even though this holds us up if we’re behind them, but these critics feel that it’s ok to intimidate their fellow citizens with lies and mistruths.

These people have become everything they despise on other news stories: law-breakers, mis-informed, counter-development, fear-mongerers.

However, if YOU are one of these staunch critics, be my guest and run up a huge bill for yourself. Run the gauntlet of law enforcement. Just don’t take it out on ME, at least not before weighing up the points I’ve made here carefully.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received. 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.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Reply to the Nelson Mandela Found...

Yes, there is no question about it. We need radical change. Social justice. But what are the ills we see? What are the solutions?  Read more...

0 comments 193 views
Submitted by
Chili Nel
ANC Adieu

A clearly debilitated ANC is limping along to 16 December, hoping for a miracle cure; something that would heal the suppurating sores on it’s mangy coat and save it from decaying into oblivion. Read more...

0 comments 239 views
Submitted by
Sean Parker
Which car would you max on this r...

If given the opportunity to reach the top speed of any car on an airfield, which set of wheels would you choose to go blisteringly quick in a straight line? Read more...

0 comments 4611 views
Submitted by
Third force behind The President'...

Politics is a knife that cuts into the Public every which way it can. Politics is the sociopath, the Public its willing victim. The Public needs to demand better instead of praising sensationalism, gossip and bias over logic and truth. Read more...

0 comments 1723 views
Submitted by
Palestinians have nothing to gain...

Palestinian political unity is the biggest threat to the occupation. And demanding that Hamas disarm is the biggest threat to the unity agreement between Palestinian factions. Read more...

0 comments 164 views
Submitted by
Robyn Boake
Once the pride of CT, the MyCiti ...

Up until recently it was a service that Capetonians were proud of, a service bragged about as an example of what could be achieved as a solution for the masses. But that all changed. Read more...

0 comments 1176 views


RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Interactive Advertising Bureau
© 2017 All rights reserved.
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.