Slow progress

2011-02-09 09:00

When I visited Alexandria in Egypt, the Mubarak government was forcing people to pay in order to use the beach. I thought to myself, that I am so fortunate and blessed to be a South African, because our government will not be as cruel as Hosni Mubarak to prevent innocent children from having fun at beach because their parents are poor.

Therefore it is flabbergasting to realise that the ANC is willing to put obstacles in the way of progress of millions of South Africans.

The ANC is going further than Mubarak. The Egyptian government is at the least only preventing poor and middle class people from using the beach. The South African government is now enacting taxes that will deny many South Africans the opportunity to some of their most basic of rights.

People don’t need beaches in order to have a decent life. People however need roads as a necessity. We need to use roads in order to get to work and back. We need to use roads to take our children to school. We need to use these roads to go to the hospital or to a doctor. We need to use the roads to visit friends and family. We need to use the road to transport goods and to promote trade and commerce.
People are struggling to get by?

The rich people will have the benefit of using the best roads and get richer while the poor will have to wake up early, leave early and get stressed out and die of heart attacks and stress just to get by.

Why is the ANC allowing this to happen to its people?

The people who are leading the SA National Roads Agency are like Hosni Mubarak clan. They don’t care about the masses that are poor and middle class.

Is the government blind to the townships, poor and middle income suburbs all over Gauteng? Are their car windows tinted so much that they cannot see the millions living in poverty? Do they earn so large incomes that they can’t understand the hardship in asking people to pay R10 000 a year more in taxes. How are these people going to afford to work and go to school or university or find jobs, or visit family and friends or socialise.

The proposed toll roads are the worst injustice against South Africans since the Pass Book Laws.

The toll roads should be called "Dom Pas" Tolls. Just like the dom pas was used to limit severely the movements of non-whites, these tolls will have the effect of limiting the movement of those who are not well to do, which is probably 90% of the country’s population.

The tolls will have the effect of hindering South Africans from going about their daily lives to earn a decent living and improve their and their family’s lives. These tolls are going to deny millions of South Africans their basic human rights in terms of education, healthcare, employment and other needs.

People may not be able to afford going to university or starting their business or meeting a family member who is sick because they can’t afford travelling on public roads.

Just as the pass laws of apartheid made no sense and were obscene and a tool of oppression, these tolls are none the better. This single law has the effect of a dozen apartheid laws.

Our politicians need to wake up from their dream that South Africa is currently not a Sweden and Joburg is not Geneva.  They need to realise that the people living in Soweto, Alexandria, Lenasia and elsewhere are not earning R500 000 a year, so that they can easily absorb extra taxes. We may have hosted an awesome FIFA World Cup, but the country is overwhelmingly poor and trying really hard to get by.

The past 17 years has not been easy for South Africa. Unemployment is being sticky and dropping slowly. Poverty is still widespread and South Africa has made only modest gains in increasing living standards. These toll roads could wipe out all these small gains and push make it difficult for South Africans to come out of the deep hole caused by apartheid and colonialism that millions are still trapped in.

Our former president Nelson Mandela is not even dead yet and there are people at The South African National Roads Agency Limited that are trying to prevent people by getting out. These bureaucrats and politicians are burning the ladders and ropes that people are using to get out of that deep dark apartheid hole. These bureaucrats are throwing rocks and burning oil and hitting South Africans trying to have normal lives with sticks.

Poll taxes

The toll taxes are similar to the poll taxes that were once upon a time enacted in the United States. The poll tax was optional. A person did not have to pay a poll tax if he did not want to do so. However, the law stated that anybody wanting to vote in the elections had to have paid the poll tax.

 The poll tax was so expensive that African Americans could not afford to pay the tax. The effect of this was African Americans not voting and therefore not being able to determine the outcome of elections.

African Americans peacefully accepted the status quo that they could not do anything about it and that they destined to be poor and second class citizens. The money saved from not paying the poll tax was outweighed by the benefits from taking part in democracy.

The poll tax has long been abolished in America.

The consequences of the poll tax will be evident in the toll tax.

Trevor Manual and Parvin Gordhan

The obscenity of the toll tax goes against everything South Africa tried to achieve in the Mandela and Mbeki governments. The Treasury under leadership of Trevor Manual created one of the best and fair tax systems in the world. Our tax system was built on the progressive tax principle. The more you earn, the more you pay in taxes.

A person driving a BMW 3 series will pay the same amount of tax as the person driving a Citi Golf.

Trevor Manual, Parvin Gordhan and hundreds of smart people at the Treasury made sure that South Africa had a fair tax system.

It is therefore disgusting that the Transport Department allows these taxes to be enacted, without due consideration or advice from the more respected Treasury.


If politicians still pursue these oppressive tax policies, they have absolutely no right to EVER associate themselves with the struggle against apartheid. Those who pursue these aristocratic policies have no right to associate themselves with great South African leaders like Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Chief Albert Luthuli, Steve Biko, Desmond Tutu, Chris Hani and the thousands of others who had to endure hardships to bring down the National Party.

It was unthinkable to imagine an uprising against Hosni Mubarak as it is unthinkable to contemplate South Africans revolting against the ANC. After the seeing the developments in the Middle East these past few weeks, I realise anything can happen in South Africa.

These tolls, I hope will be a catalyst to blow away corrupt and oppressive politicians and bureaucrats from office.

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  • DW - 2011-02-09 09:12

    Hear hear! The trouble is it will take quite a while before South Africans revolt against the ANC like in Egypt. The ANC keeps implementing new ideas and, then when they are a disaster, years later, they revoke them and try something new (not always better) or go back to what was there in the first place. But by then the damage is done - look at our education system. Can anyone tell me if the blue light parades will be paying tolls (from their own pockets please, not that taxpayers)? Fat chance!

  • Gerhardus - 2011-02-09 09:12

    Slowly but surely killing the goose that lays the golden eggs Karools

      DeonL - 2011-02-09 11:00

      The goose will soon fly away if this keeps on happening.

  • kosmos303 - 2011-02-09 09:18

    Very good point and well put. Take a look at the N1 north to Louis Trichardt, which from Pta has 5 toll stations. The dangerous old route through the dorps is heaving with taxis and vehicles filled with people travelling to the rural areas. This is a massive failure of the public service. Why should the fast, safe and spacious route be limited to the well heeled? The leadership of the NRA have lost the plot a long time ago, and been allowed to get away with it. Its all about income (and no doubt bonuses) now. And what about the comrades of yesteryear who used to stand and fight for the common good? Too many of them have been co-opted and spoilt rotten and have become part of the system. There are no voices of opposition, self-richment is the new struggle.

      Stevie - 2011-02-09 10:09

      No voices of opposition? Ever heard of the DA?

      damascus76 - 2011-02-09 10:31

      Its a pity when all the politicians out there are so stinking rich that paying these taxes will not affect them. Yep it will be the middle and lower income households that will suffer, this is going to be disastrous for our economy and unemployment will be increase, this is going to have more far-reaching affects than anyone can imagine.

      AJ - 2011-02-09 10:35

      "There are no voices of opposition.." - Actually there are quite a few, if the message is falling on deaf ears than that is your indaba.

  • kolobe - 2011-02-09 09:30

    Oppressive tax policies,What a stupid argument,the poor people have always been using trains and taxi therefore your argument is baseless that the poor are being punished,There is no longer an excuse for people to be polluting the roads with excessive smokes, especially when we are faced with major catastrophic phenomena like climate change, To utilize a taxi from Pretoria to Johannesburg with cost you less that R1 500 per month, which is equivalent to a weekly cost for fuel, the thing of the swaar gevaar taxi must come to an end, a monthly shosholoza train will costs just around R500, people are no longer just advised but should consider using other means of transport.the ANC is not sabotaging anyone, go and live in Egypt if you feel they are better.its becoming evident that people would be forced to share transport with the masses, this is the last kick of a dying exclusiveness of the benefactors of the apartheid oppressive government, they are refusing integration,

      colin langley - 2011-02-09 09:37

      I wish you would just go somewhere and die....So Sick of your stupid inability to think. Your and idiot and will still, to this day..laugh my ass off at your attempt at debate. Because we all know that Kolobe is a donkey who's just learning to use a keyboard

      Liam Groome - 2011-02-09 09:41

      What does tax have to do with integration you twat?!

      Vedder - 2011-02-09 09:48

      Good comment Kolobe,Brilliant man!!Cleeva hey????Now try comment on the article written above!

      MathysTheart - 2011-02-09 09:48

      Apartheid's fault again? Let me guess, overloaded taxi's having accidents, that is apartheid's fault? People having to use most of their pay to get to work. Apartheid's fault? People still living in squatter camps, while the ANCYL (unneccesary group) having a party costing R100000000.42 (unneccesary party). Apartheid's fault? Please pull your head out of your a$$ and smell the compost heap that used to be a rosebush!

      kevinpmason - 2011-02-09 09:56

      Dont you realise that the taxi's will be the hardest hit by these taxes? they do more milage than the rest of us, and hardly earn much. yes they will get a discount, but you try explaining to the drivers, that he must pay a few thousand extra per month to do his job.

      Lauren - 2011-02-09 09:59

      Kolobe, I think it's time for you to go live in Egypt, because it is clear that you do not have a problem to live in a country where the leadership just does as it pleases. Your tirades are becoming tired and irrelevant, I am afraid.

      Lauren - 2011-02-09 10:02

      Another thing, will your leaders too give up their cars and travel with the masses (your word)? I think they will continue to lord it over you in the Mercs and BMWs and you will continue to stand in awe of them and not realise that this has NOTHING to do with Apartheid or the environment, but rather the need for more tax money. If you shout "Apartheid" at everything, it becomes less effective and eventually nobody takes you seriously anymore. Like the little boy who cried wolf continuously.

      Stevie - 2011-02-09 10:15

      @ kolobe: You, sir, are blind, but good for a laugh.

      GBES - 2011-02-09 10:27

      & kolobe, I and Eugene Terreblanche are the worst racists I ever experienced.Yes,I agree you are an idiot and you must hate everybody.ANC controlled provinces get the bulk of the tax money from national treasury,they underspend,steal it and therefore need toll gates all over those provinces.They are milking a dying cow.PS:Why does the Wcape only have ONE toll gate ??Maybe Zille knows how to wisely spend tax money to benefit us.

      SimonP - 2011-02-09 10:32

      Kolobe, you just had to throw apartheid into the mix didnt you. Have you ever posted without referring to apartheid? I reckon if you tripped over and tore a hole in your trousers you would blame apartheid.

      hantiejansenvanvuuren - 2011-02-09 10:33

      Okay, so your answer to poverty is probably to make everybody poor. What an idiot!

      SimonP - 2011-02-09 10:43

      @hantiejanse, there are two ways to alleviate poverty, the first involves lots of hard work which results in bring the poor towards the highest common denominator. The second involves doing no work and bringing everybody down to the lowest common denominator. Guess what kolobe and co want.

      RIMRIM - 2011-02-09 10:56

      Kolobe you are very short sighted, Do you not realise that the tolls have an inflationary effect. The price of everything is going to increase including basic necessities like food and clothing. (Everything needs to be delivered and transported at some point) Don’t forget the traffic jams as people avoid tolls which have a huge negative effect on the economy.The poor will be effected the most. Idiot.

      Makutu - 2011-02-09 11:12

      Kolobe = IDIOT amongs idiots. Those taxis still have to use those same roads? Where will that cost transfere to? Imagine if you have a factory in Roodepoort transporting 18 load of good to and from Pretoria? One trip is already R150 on a truck. That is not funny my man. This will have a horrible effect on infation in Johannesburg. I feel sorry for people living up there.

      inglorius b - 2011-02-09 12:35

      So will you be ditching your black BMW and using a taxi?

      GrimReaper10 - 2011-02-09 13:06

      "To utilize a taxi from Pretoria to Johannesburg with cost you less that R1 500 per month, which is equivalent to a weekly cost for fuel" R1500 a week? 6000 a month! Check your fuel thank, you have a leak.

      poepslang - 2011-02-10 05:42

      hey wena.........hurry the goats are running away!and do take that finger out of your nose

  • MathysTheart - 2011-02-09 09:37

    "Why is the ANC allowing this to happen to its people?" They just don't care. As long as they have more money that can 'dissapear', they are happy.

  • Parko - 2011-02-09 09:39


      MathysTheart - 2011-02-09 09:51

      Reminds me of that munucipal office they burned down to protest service delivery. As if that would help.

  • Ross - 2011-02-09 09:53

    We sincerely hope that they manage the toll accounts more efficiently than the Johannesburg water and lights department manage their accounts. I foresee a few multi-thousand whoppers hitting our post boxes. It may be a good idea to obtain personalised numberplates as I foresee an escalation in duplicate numberplates.

  • Smanga - 2011-02-09 10:15

    Yawnnnnnn! Just pay and shut up! The ANC needs all the money it can get to campaign for the elections... guess what... You are paying! You might as well vote for the ANC because by paying for our campaign, you are making it easy for us to have more resources to campaign vigoriously!

      SimonP - 2011-02-09 10:30

      Are you suggesting the ANC use tax payers money to fund their election campaign. Thats illegal. Did you know that?

      lmduplessis - 2011-02-09 11:18

      Highly illegal.

      Vedder - 2011-02-09 11:20

      @Smanga...that money would have been better spent at the zoo!!But it is fine, the ANC must keep doing what they are doing!

      Smanga - 2011-02-09 11:58

      Illegal, what do you know about illegal?

      SimonP - 2011-02-09 12:09

      Smanga, obviously a lot more than you. Do you honestly believe tax money belongs to the ANC to use for election campaigns. If you do you are 100% wrong. You are confused about the difference between government funds and party funds.

  • Han Solo - 2011-02-09 10:16

    Once again, I really don't see what the fuss is all about. Everyone is acting as if they "Don't have a choice". It's really quite simple. Refuse to pay. Put something ABOVE your number plate to block the view of the cameras above. There's no law that says you can't do this. Splash some dirt on your number plate. There's many many ways one can get around this. The more people who do this, the more futile their efforts will be to enforce it. My taxes already paid for the highways. I'll not pay again. If in the extremely unlikely event that some cop races after me. I'll just produce my SA ID book and say "Sorry, here's my proof of payment."

      damascus76 - 2011-02-09 10:39

      I don't think its going to be as simple as that.

      Han Solo - 2011-02-09 10:50

      You wanna bet?

      damascus76 - 2011-02-09 10:59

      I will only try it, if its tried and tested.

      Badger - 2011-02-09 12:52

      HAN? There is a 'chip' (or will be) inserted into the number place and is read electronically, not visually.

      Han Solo - 2011-02-09 13:19

      Well Badger, that's nothing a good swipe of a powerful magnet won't fix. You watch. And I ain't having no chip put on my ship. That's how the Empire found us the first time. Imperial Scum.

      Wishbone - 2011-02-09 17:43

      The Empire is definitely striking back here! Time to feel the force and rebel! Down with Darth Zuma!

  • LUNGELO YILI - 2011-02-09 10:17

    with a country where only 30% are tax-payers this is very nice. don't forget the fact that almost 20% is on social grants. i'm sure the billions wasted or defrauded every year could pay for these roads. anyway, the taxi drivers will be eager to increase the fares the barely-employed barely afford. better make my way to anc heaven very fast then

      Wishbone - 2011-02-09 17:45

      Hehehehe. One wonders how far the wasteful expenditure of the govt could have gone to pay for some of this!

  • GBES - 2011-02-09 10:28

    ANC controlled provinces get the bulk of the tax money from national treasury,they underspend,steal it and therefore need toll gates all over those provinces.They are milking a dying cow.PS:Why does the Wcape only have ONE toll gate ??Maybe Zille knows how to wisely spend tax money to benefit us.

  • Mpho R - 2011-02-09 10:49

    Has the writer traveled on the N1 past Pretoria in the direction of Limpopo or N4 towards Mafikeng? Toll gates are everywhere. What I have a problem with is the pricing.

  • Tonsil - 2011-02-09 11:26

    You people are all thick. The reason for the toll roads is that all motorists will be forced to use alternative routes and transport. This will leave the highways open for the BLUE LIGHT CONVEYS of Cabinet Ministers, minor politicians and "VIP"s. Simple hey.

  • TDK1 - 2011-02-09 11:44

    I will never pay.

  • inglorius b - 2011-02-09 12:34

    Thank you for a well written article that quite aptly reflects the anger and frustration that so many south african citizens are feeling at the moment. My husband owns a business that supplied components to all of the World Cup stadiums, yesterday we heard that one of our largest suppliers has gone into liquidation, due to the government not paying them to this day what was due. We are effected as well as all the other suppliers in the supply chain involved with the stadiums, now add on NHI and the toll taxes and I honestlty dont know, how small business is going to be able to survive. This is all the work of the ANC, not to mention that I was retrenched last year as well. I wish my husband who has a European passport decides one day, that we are LEAVING!!! We would at least save the R250 000.00 a year we spend on private school, medical aid, security, private pension etc, all things that should be provided from the government for free. Family in Europe get this for free! I believe we would be so much better off somewhere else, rather just let all the staff in 4 branches across SA go because Zuma is creating 500 000 jobs for all! As well as tickets to heaven!

  • Mcwerha - 2011-02-09 13:15

    If Cosatu really cared about workers they should be all over this issue. I guess they are very selective socialists neh!

  • Zion - 2011-02-09 14:59

    Author, If youn care to do some more indepth reading on Poll tax and progressive tax you will arrive at a very different picture. Internationally the progressive tax is not accepted but it is necessary because a government like South African government would never be able to make ends meet. The argument in favour of progressive tax is sophistic by nature. Very few people who earn a salary will admit that it is fair to pay R200 on an income of say R1000 ie 20%tax and when the income rises to say 2000 and the tax should be R400 but in fact increases, not linearly but exponentially to say R600. The argument is not really valid to state that A rich person is capable of paying more(Exponentially) than his poorer counterpart. This tenet of tax is referred to as exploitation by some. There are clear reasons why rich people are rich and poor people are poor but the rich are not receiving more for their tax paid. Other form of tax such as VAT will be much higher for the rich who obviously spend more. If South Africa had a "fair" Linear taxation the government would have collapsed a long time ago. Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's: The only question one can ask here is: At what point has Caesar become a thief?

  • inglorius b - 2011-02-09 15:12

    I say Lootuli house should be blown up!!

      MathysTheart - 2011-02-10 10:12

      Be carefull what you say inglorius, with the new media law's coming in they can find where you live, and leak that information to a township near you. Then you are in deep $h1t.

  • JudithNkwe - 2011-02-09 16:09

    A well reasoned and written article! This tax also has the potential to close many SMEs as they will not be able to afford to go to customer site, go out selling and they will not be able to assist their employees to come to work. Many SME owners work for under R10 000 a month - I know because I am one of them. It is also making it very expensive for NGO volunteers to attend meetings as they do this at their own expense most of the time. Again, I am one of these people so I know. We already pay licence fees and levies on the petrol we buy. The tolling system has cost either more or nearly as much as the road improvements - why? We have not access to reliable public transport as an alternative, which is the case in other countries. This move is ill thought through and economically destructive. It requires opposing in the loudest terms and seems to be uniting labour and business in opposition!

  • Wishbone - 2011-02-09 17:40

    Agreed! Personally I'm not prepared to cough up additional cash to travel on roads that should be maintained by the taxes we pay. I'm getting tired of paying per use for services that should be provided as part of the government/taxpayer agreement.

  • Brieuse - 2011-02-10 06:57

    "A person driving a BMW 3 series will pay the same amount of tax as the person driving a Citi Golf." Citi Golfs shouldn't even be allowed on the road.

      Zion - 2011-02-12 08:01

      Yes, but on condition that their income is the same

  • Stewart - 2011-02-10 17:24

    I am amazed at the silence from blacks - the trade unions and other activist bodies for example - in failing to vehemently and vociferously protest these new taxes - where is the 'mass action'? Just as black people have the chance to pull themselves up the ladder of progress in their finances and lives - and the mobility which comes with owning a car is a vital step in this process - the ANC government which pretends to be on their side in this endeavour brings this nonsense to the table. I fervently hope that this imposition will be the final straw for many ANC voters - and that realisation of what this will mean to themselves, their finances and prospects will cause them to look for another political party to support - the ANC's corruption, greed and lack of concern for the people of this country surely must be their downfall - the time has come for regime change!

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