E-tolls are set to open in the next two months. This follows the national assembly’s legalisation of the bill for the implementation of e-tolling on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project on 5 March.
The bill was approved by a measure of 198 votes to 98, with two absentees, and will now go to the National Council of Provinces for consensus.
This follows extensive protests by the Congress of South African Trade Unions last year and the dismissal of the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance’s (Outa) application to scrap e-tolls by the North Gauteng High Court in December. Outa will take the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein. A date for this hearing has not yet been set.
Further opposition against e-tolls comes from the Democratic Alliance (DA), who are prepared to take the fight against e-tolls to the Constitutional Court. Mail & Guardian reported that the DA wants voters to use next year’s elections as as referendum on e-tolls. The idea is that every vote for the ANC is for the tolling system.
The South African National Road Agency Limited (Sanral) told the Cape Times that the opening of the e-toll system will create 5 000 jobs and a further 600 jobs per year. They further stated that the upgrading of road networks will lead to greater job opportunities and will boost regional economies.
A survey distributed among Tuks students shows that only five out of the 100 students surveyed have registered for e-tolls. Of those who have not registered, only 38 will not be affected by the system.
A final-year LLB student said, “The highway going back home to Johannesburg will become increasingly expensive. [There will be] more traffic on the back roads, which will ultimately be more upkeep for my car and more time on the road.”
Gerco Lindeque, a second-year BEng student, stated that he drives past two e-toll gates on a daily basis when driving to and from university. Many students who have not registered for e-toll commute on a daily or weekly basis between Johannesburg, Midrand or Benoni.
Dominique Klopper, a fourth-year LLB student, said, “I will not be able to use the highway as often as I do now, due to the fact that I will not be able to afford it. Reaching far off places will become impossible for me. Keeping up with the petrol prices as it is is already tough enough.”
Konrad de Vries, a first-year BSc student, told Perdeby, “I live in Johannesburg [and study] in Pretoria. I make the trip between varsity and home at least twice a week. E-toll will cost me a lot of extra money and as a student, I’m not exactly rich.”
Facebook and Twitter comments: E-tolls
Jacques Lewis: “I am registered and tagged, not because I wanted to but because there is no other option. Having your car tagged means that you qualify for some substantial discounts. Driving to campus every morning from Centurion, I can tell you that the N1 south is backed up all the way to the Brakfontein interchange at 06:00 in the morning on most days. So what have we achieved? I hate that we always end up paying for the incompetencies of our government.”
Roché Bloemendal: “I have not [registered]. I disagree with the system. We will basically be paying for the large costs that were involved in building them! I think it is very unfair and unless forced to do so (by my dad, hehehe) I won’t be registering.”
Rene Dewey: “I haven’t and will not [register]! May as well just invite burglars over for a beer if we do support ‘scumral’ and their e-toll idea.”
Carla Andrea Lopes: “I haven’t registered yet and probably won’t. The money won’t be going to our government and therefore not towards our roads. I am not up to paying an international company that built them and they pocket the profits.”