The e-tolls saga in Gauteng is depressing and frustrating in so many ways for so many reasons. The implementation of this system has raised blood pressures across the board. Yet this situation has left me with a ‘feel good’ sensation. It seems that not only sporting euphoria can draw us together, this time a common cause has united us.
For the e-tolling system to work it needs us to buy in, it needs the majority of Gauteng drivers to get tagged. Sanral expected us to roll over and play dead, but we haven’t. When the Scorpions were disbanded we felt helpless. When corrupt leaders show us the finger, we feel helpless. When faced with rampant crime, we feel helpless. We are constantly faced with situations where we feel stripped of power. This time it is different, this time we can pull together, this time we have the option to make a choice and the overwhelming majority have made the choice to say no.
Sanral are doing everything in their power to get us to comply, from wheedling and cajoling to misinformation to bullying. They are making life as tough as possible for the untagged and still the majority resist.
This week when at shopping centres in Boksburg I have counted cars and made note of the number which are tagged. I have counted 120 cars of these only 20 had e-tags. Even if this figure of 16% is not representative enough it reinforces other claims of roughly 25%.
Making the choice not to be tagged is not easy, we know that in some way we will be penalised, that we could be in for a rough ride. Some are absolutely defiant, claiming publically that they will take the path of public disobedience. Some are making the choice to pay on receipt of an invoice, even if this means paying significantly more and standing in long queues. Some are avoiding toll routes. Some are saying that they are willing to go to jail. All of these choices are brave, all involve discomfort. These people with their many individual reasons are choosing not to take the easy way out. I have made little printed notes for the un-tagged which I’ve been popping on windshields, they read “Thank you for not buying an e-tag. Have a great day!” Although my heart sinks when I see cars with e-tags I respect their choice, I cannot criticise them, anyway last week Vusi Mona from Sanral proved how counter productive it is to call people’s IQ into question. Personally I hate debt, I don’t have a credit card and believe that anything other than property should be saved for not bought on credit. The thought of owing money is terribly disquieting.
For those who are vacillating these facts may be of some comfort.
1. It is not law that you must get an e-tag.
2. Outstanding toll fees cannot prevent your car licence from being renewed.
3. You cannot be blacklisted for non-payment as you have not entered into a credit agreement with Sanral
The coming months will be very interesting, we will probably see court cases and the outcomes of those cases will be important.
Whatever happens, Thank You fellow South Africans for having the courage of your convictions. I’m sending out a big group hug to all who have stood their ground.