Ambulances must pay Chappies toll fee

2012-01-17 10:36

Cape Town - The medical director of Cape Medical Response has been told his ambulances must stop and pay the toll fee if they use Chapman’s Peak drive, irrespective of whether it is an emergency, the Cape Times newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Alan Walters told the newspaper he was "absolutely gobsmacked" when he learnt the private ambulances were not exempt.

"It’s just amazing, really nonsense," he said.

"I’m not talking about going to a meeting in a response car, I’m talking about an ambulance with lights flashing with a critically ill patient in the back.


"It happened when the guys were on call and they got a call to go to Hout Bay to transfer a patient to Constantiaberg as an emergency.

"They were stopped at the toll and had to scrabble around collecting money to pay the toll," Walters said.

The incident happened last month.

Walters wrote to Rob Pomario, a director of Entilini Concession, asking that ambulances be granted exemption from toll fees when attending to a medical emergency "so that valuable seconds can be saved".

"All our response vehicles are immediately identifiable as such, with signage and emergency lights," he wrote.

Pomario wrote back to say he could not grant the ambulances exemption from the toll fees.

He suggested that the ambulances "carry a float at all times to avoid any delays in finding toll fees".

"Alternatively, we suggest that you discuss our frequent user facility with our operator.

"The gazette is very clear as to which vehicles are to be regarded as emergency vehicles," Pomario wrote.

Walters wrote to Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, to say his ambulance service was not granted toll fee exemption when responding to emergency calls.

"And that means life and death calls. Your opinion would be appreciated."

Walters said the premier’s office wrote back to say the office would be closed until mid-January. He had not heard anything since then.

- Entilini confirmed that all government vehicles, including fire, police, metro police, defence force and state ambulances are exempt from paying toll fees. This story relates to private ambulances. A statement will be issued to clarify the toll fee issue.

  • Anthony - 2012-01-17 10:44

    Totally insane !!!!! The GREED in SA has no bounderies.......!!!

      procold2 - 2012-01-17 10:53

      wonder if the police will also have to drive around the mountain responding to a crime

      Janice - 2012-01-17 11:04

      Yes, and if someone dies en route to hospital, because of the time factor, WHO will be charged with murder?????

      solverman - 2012-01-17 11:34

      That would probably explain a lot of their response times

      Gollum - 2012-01-17 11:35

      I wonder if blue light brigades are exempt

      Sedick - 2012-01-17 11:48

      I think insane is not the correct word. This is moronic. And he is a director of the company!!! AND he puts this down in writing??? I would not have him directing traffic. Maybe he is an example of the quality of directors that we have isn SA......

      jogesig - 2012-01-17 12:18

      @flowingriver: Entilini Concession, a private company operating the toll road at Chapmans peak. I would ask you to do some research before you say stupid things, think before you talk etc but it will be wasted.

      Fumanchu - 2012-01-17 12:18

      If I was an ambulance driver, I would literally drive through the booms, they are so flimsy.

  • Janice - 2012-01-17 10:45

    OK, now I have heard it all!!! Only in Africa!!!

  • David - 2012-01-17 10:46

    Julle ken mos die wet van Transvaal!

      ivan.coetzee2 - 2012-01-17 11:41

      Maar dit is die Kaap??

  • justin.pretorius - 2012-01-17 10:48

    Insanity rules this country

  • Perfume5 - 2012-01-17 10:49

    This is OUTRAGEOUS!!!!!!

      Perfume5 - 2012-01-17 10:58

      I foresee a Facebook Group coming up to boycott Chapman's Peak - who came up with this MADNESS!!!

  • jlourens - 2012-01-17 10:50

    I wonder if this extends to all emergency services (SAP, Fire Dept, Rescue)...? So if these services are denied access to perform vital services, then the Toll-Gate people can manage / handle their own emergencies or at least be responsible for the payments thereof. ie if there is an accident on THEIR toll road - THEY must pay for the EMS...only fair I think. I will now make a point NEVER to use Chap Peak drive again. I hope others will follow suite...boycott the tools.

      Angela - 2012-01-17 15:09

      Yes... Fire on Chappies - imagine all the fire engines stopping to first pay their toll fees before going through - then they need an ambulance and a fireman has been injured - that too stopping to pay its toll fees. An escapee or whatever - police, flashing lights - stopping to pay toll fees while badie gets a running start. This is totally totally crazy. And they want to build there office block on Chappies - are the builders and crew going to have to pay toll fees every day ???? or will they be expempt ?? What if they get injured. It is just crazy. What is up with these ........

      Patsy - 2012-04-22 14:32

      Excellent idea, jlourens.

  • Morne - 2012-01-17 10:51

    Here's an idea Alan. Get all medical response units, land, sea and air (including emergency fire services) to openly boycott Chappies refusing to respond to any future emergencies that might result around this road (or mountain) until they give you exemption. I drive it every single day and every second month there is some sort of emergency there.

      ruimteseerower - 2012-01-17 11:38

      be realistic what if you lie between a heap of metal

      Craig - 2012-01-17 11:47

      They took an oath to save lifes, and that is what they will keep on doing...civilians should rather sue Rob for everything he has, think that is a more sensible option. I sure as hell dont want to be left in a metal wreck for hours...

      Billy - 2012-01-17 12:33

      Morne you're an idiot. Spiting the toll operators is not going to help victims of accidents on Chapmans.

      Merven - 2012-01-17 13:33

      Until you are in such an emergency, will you still want them to boycott Chappies?

  • melinda.vandeventerlottering - 2012-01-17 10:51

    So if an ambulance is NOT an emergency vehicle, then what is??? I suppose only a "Blue Light Brigade"!!!

      John - 2012-01-17 11:41

      As far as I know, Blue Light Brigades is illegal in the Western Cape, so they probably won't qualify.

      Garthn - 2012-01-17 18:51

      Any government vehicle is an emergency. This government is an emergency. Each ANC member is an emergency. Replace "an emergency" with "a serious waste of tax".

  • neil.baines - 2012-01-17 10:52

    Well, lets see if Rob Pomario changes his mind when he or one of his family are lying on the floor dying of a heart attack and the ambulance can't reach them because they don't have enough cash on them for the toll fee. Disgusting.

  • Danie - 2012-01-17 10:53

    That is fine, just inform all motorist not to make use of the road as there will be delays in medical response should you require it, the public should stop using it and these greedy buggers closed down...

  • Hein - 2012-01-17 10:58

    What's good for one should be good for all. Pomario should remember that when he is in the back of an ambulance, which needs to stop and pay toll fees!

  • Stack - 2012-01-17 11:00

    tweet helen zille she does actually respond herself!

  • Jan - 2012-01-17 11:10

    Have you ever paid a bill for an ambulance service. This is the pot calling the kettle black. These ambulances will not transport you without upfront payment or medical insurance authorisation. The free ones provided by the state is seldom running on medical emergencies.

      Zander - 2012-01-17 14:57

      Sure they charge you, but making them cue and paying later @ a window waiting for a recite to claim back can be some time, with an emergency, I don't get why they just don't get a contract stating that there's a pass by lane that they can use and then pay a lump sum @ the end of the month... The golden hour can very well be hampered by the +-5min cue. BTW i dont think private EMS can deny helping you if you dont have money upfront or a medical insurance, if there is an emergency then they HAVE to help, they cant come there and then drive away with you bleeding out. They get all their call outs from the government anyway. Just a thought :)

      gailcarolynhayes - 2012-04-22 18:58

      Now you know why you pay the private ones and not the govt ones. I wonder what will happen if an ANC member is injured in a wreck and his private ambulance is delayed at a toll road because as we all know our ANC politicians all have medical aids and go to Private hospitals even those who have been found guilty of fraud, corruption etc. Maybe the private ambulance companies should refuse to rush to any emergency involving a politician regadless of where it may be. Private Hospitals could refuse to accept ruling govt officials in need of serious medical attention. If they are the Govt then why are they unwilling to go to Govt hospitals? Makes you think..

  • Andres - 2012-01-17 11:10

    Just Tweeted Helen Zille about the Chapman's Peak issue. Try to make it a trending topic to elicit a response quicker using #ChapmansPeak.

  • Jannie - 2012-01-17 11:10

    Pomario you are retarded

  • schencpa - 2012-01-17 11:11

    Government: "We don't care if that person is dying, pay the toll fee! My BMW is due for a service and I need the money."

  • Leon - 2012-01-17 11:11

    Well don't respond to an emergency. Hopefully the guy who said no's family will be in dire need and there are no ambulances avialble and they die. Then he might wake up. Only one way and that is to learn through his mistake. A murder charge against him because the ambulance took too long might help as well.

  • Justin - 2012-01-17 11:12

    Thats fine, as long as the ministerial blue light brigade are exempt from paying tolls, when they're in a hurry to an urgent political party...

  • WotzisName - 2012-01-17 11:15

    This is sickening! The mindless greed and corruption in this country is absolute madness! These people should be completely ashamed of themselves, except they won't because people like this have no regard for anything or anybody but themselves and their own enrichment even if it costs lives! Typical Africa!

      Albert - 2012-01-17 11:40

      BOYCOTT let`s do the same as with gauteng tolls.We have very little power left,but let`s use it.BOYCOTT=PEOPLE`S POWER

  • Daryn - 2012-01-17 11:16

    This leads to an interesting question, do the Blue light brigades pay toll fees?

      gailcarolynhayes - 2012-04-22 19:03

      Govt vehicles are exempt so presumably Blue lights being Govt security are also exempt like Govt ambulances and fire engines etc.

  • winston.mullany - 2012-01-17 11:20

    Dumber and dumber..... But then even in Jhb the ambulances have to pay toll fees when responding to an emergency! I mean how f*&^ing stupid is that!!!

  • MoAfrika - 2012-01-17 11:20

    ma...jaws hanging low...In my life time, I have seen emergency services people leave their meals in 2 different occasions without paying a cent and in one occasion not even taking a bite, just to attend to people who needs help most, but if really this guy wants money this much, I wish he gets more that he just faint every time he hears the amount in his bank account. I also wish he get an accountant that will remind him everyday how much he has, that he gets to faint everyday...

  • vivienne.midlane - 2012-01-17 11:26

    Rob Pomario ... you're the problem. Nothing a p035 klap won't solve. For now though, boycott "their" road, maybe going bankrupt is the fastest way to bring this dog to his knees.

  • Frederick - 2012-01-17 11:30

    Did Rob Pomario pass Std 5? "Carry a float...?" Does he not realise that wasting seconds can make a difference between life and death? Hope they don’t have to wait for change as well… Really, I must say I'm shocked at the reasoning of some people that hold key positions. A Director of Entilini Concession?

  • gail.joyce2 - 2012-01-17 11:32

    Oh come on! I wonder what will happen if Rob(ber) needs to be taken by ambulance in an emergency along Chappies.

  • Getafix - 2012-01-17 11:35

    Say What!!!! Have these people gone all Looney? :D I think management should go fall off one of their high cliffs.

  • ruimteseerower - 2012-01-17 11:36

    shows you about people that has money as there god ,but wach out rob pomario maybe you will need a ambulance one day then the ambulance has to pay toll fee 10 seconds to late think about it you must be the fool of the year the man that sold his life for a toll fee

  • solverman - 2012-01-17 11:39

    Sorry to disturb you, while you are busy dying of a heart attack in the back of my ambulance mr Pomario !, but would you by any chance have any small change in your pocket for the toll gate. Someone seems to have borrowed money from my float and not replaced it

  • Davin - 2012-01-17 11:39

    Not sure why everyone is crying in this thread. You all voted for this ;)

  • ruimteseerower - 2012-01-17 11:41

    show us some fotos with your stories it will be nice to see what the village idiot look like didnt think there was a bigger one than the one in polokwane

  • Skerparabie - 2012-01-17 11:42


      Craig - 2012-01-17 12:05

      Wow! Where do you shop that card transactions only take a couple of seconds? I also want to shop there...also, NO government ambulances ever use Chappies right, only private ones? Just checking...

      Syd - 2012-01-17 13:05

      Craig wake up. Swiping a credit card at the tolls does take just a few seconds, try it some time - if they allowed you to get a credit card.

      Craig - 2012-01-17 13:18

      @Syd...LOL! Someone needs to take a chill pill and learn to identify sarcasm! :D FYI...I am awake, haven't mastered the art of typing in my sleep quite yet! So...while I wait for my credit card, you can hit some english books - fair trade?

  • dave.j.colquhoun - 2012-01-17 11:57

    I think I will have to boycott the Chapmans Peak toll road as the risks associated with ambulances and emergency vehicles being delayed are far greater than the cost / profit justification of SANRAL. As always they will milk you to death for their toll fees / profits.

      Syd - 2012-01-17 13:07

      Take the long way round, it will only cost you a few more Rand in petrol and an extra hour at peak traffic time!

  • andreober - 2012-01-17 12:05

    @ Flowingriver. Dude, the Chappies Toll System IS NOT RUN BY THE DA, but by a private Company (SANRAL!?)So how can it be the DA madness?

      Cameronl - 2012-01-17 12:13


  • errol.wagner - 2012-01-17 12:06

    I hope the DA shows greater wisdom than the ANC - we will see how they respond to this.

  • Cameronl - 2012-01-17 12:11

    WTF???? - that is totally ridiculous, I'm not trying to put the government down AGAIN, but in my oppinion that many others will agree with, ambulances should never be allowed to pay squat, they are here to save lives, NOT lose them when getting stuck at a friggin toll booth..... honestly thats one of the most retarded things I've heard

      Newsreader - 2012-01-17 12:37

      down? You can get lower than what they already are?

      ivan.coetzee2 - 2012-01-17 13:08

      This is not the Governments doings, this is a greedy pig's doings! I can only hope that Rob Pomario get's into trouble and needs an ambulance urgently and one never arrives because they heve no money for his stupid toll gates

  • gabriel.melim - 2012-01-17 12:26

    It is absolutely ludricrous. We have a situation where every second counts, but they need to stop to enrich some entity's coffers!!! What qualifies as an emergency vehicle to qualify for an exemption? Is it another state official in an endless convoy of blue light-flashing cars where time is not an issue? Entilini, you need to really have the "groceries" in your heads repacked as there seems to be some items that have come off the top shelf!!!!

  • Newsreader - 2012-01-17 12:35

    African National Circus........

  • Syd - 2012-01-17 13:08

    If they insist on payment then how about they ask Gauteng to show them how the e-toll works! LOL

  • Crisis - 2012-01-17 14:20

    Entilini needs to decide whether emergency vehicles as a whole are exempt from the tolls or just government emergency vehicles. The CMR vehicles are not government emergency vehicles but they are licensed by the traffic department as emergency vehicles. Any vehicle that intends to respond to medical emergencies with lights/sirens/etc needs to have the requisite licensing. Yes, CMR is a private company and they do charge patients, but they also respond to, and assist many patients incapable of paying. They also regularly assist the state services. We (State) regularly interact with CMR on scene and they never make payment an issue at the time of the medical emergency. A response time from Fish Hoek to Hout Bay would be close to 12 mins via Chapman's Peak. To go over Constantia Nek would push that closer to 30 mins. Excluding the Hout Bay volunteers when they're on shift, in the area, it takes the State services at least 25 mins to get to Hout Bay, usually closer to 45 mins.

  • Elayne - 2012-01-17 14:24

    WHAT??? This does not make any sense.

  • Bokfan - 2012-01-17 16:52

    The Blue Lighters are exempt but not ambulances??????? Only in Zimbozania folks.

  • tony.delucchi - 2012-01-17 17:31

    ...and those irritating Sunday cyclists in the superhero outfits, will the pay? Driving behind these mincing clowns in Superman outfits is rather off putting!

  • Lesley - 2012-01-17 19:09

    The toll deal was done when Ebrahim Rassool was the premier of the western Cape. The DA has tried to change some of the clauses as this was definitely a deal done to benefit certain people.Go figure.

  • Faith - 2012-01-17 19:26

    Wat a shame... GREED ek se!

  • Deepchund - 2012-01-17 21:16

    Entilini Concession is only interested in making money. I hope the next time somebody near and dear to Rob Pomario is in the ambulance, the drivers waste time deliberately scrounging for money, but, ambulance guys are another breed,passionate and giving off 100% to save lives. Shame on you Entilini Concessions for taking your greedy culture to such extremes.

  • Ian - 2012-01-17 22:00

    anothing to make a buck hey anc, pigs

  • Johan - 2012-01-17 22:00

    Belaglik,heeltemaal skreeusnaaks belaglik.

  • Patrick - 2012-01-17 23:19

    hahahaha, am i on the right web site??? coz it sure looks as if i came out to comedy central headquarters!!!! wot a joke!! so theres a chance a person could DIE bcoz the ambulance had to stop and pay toll fee's out of there OWN pocket!!!! sa=joke

  • Kevin - 2012-01-18 07:51

    is this greedy Rob Pomario even a South African. - scumbag

  • Andre - 2012-01-18 08:04

    Amazing. So, the exemption of public response vehicles is not because they are normally reacting to an emergency, but because they are public vehicles? Peanut brains!