OUTA is not surprised the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have expressed their opposition to eTolls last week. “The ANC Youth League, under the leadership of Julius Malema, had expressed very strong opposition to eTolls during the GFIP Steering Committee presentations in June 2011. Given the EFF’s position on nationalising state assets, it would be difficult to think how the EFF would support any form of tolling and most certainly not eTolling on Gauteng’s main commuter routes” said Wayne Duvenage, Chairman of OUTA.
OUTA does not support the destruction of ETC/SANRAL’s eTolling equipment as outlined by the EFF’s Gauteng organiser Lufuno Gogoro. Instead, OUTA supports any form of legal, peaceful and constructive plans to oppose the implementation of eTolling on Gauteng’s freeways. Such measures also include passive resistance, such as not purchasing an eTag, which is not a legal requirement to travel on the Gauteng Freeways. “We believe that sufficient numbers within society will exercise their democratic rights not to purchase an eTag and will practice peaceful resistance actions and protests against the ill-conceived eToll system,in order to bring it down” says Duvenage.
Duvenage stresses that “our new constitutional democracy must be supported and we should not seek solutions to problems by means of violence or destruction of property, however, if Government continues to ignore the clear rejections from the cross section of society on the eToll matter, we warn that some frustrated elements within society may not wish to follow a democratic process. This warning was clearly spelt out during the November 2012 public exemption and tariff hearings, attended by SANRAL and the Department of Transport and Treasury, at which some members of the public expressly vowed to destroy and burn the eToll gantries.” Duvenage added “the failing eToll system in Portugal is a classic example of how a society has exercised resistance over the past year to make Portugal’s recently launched eToll system unworkable.” (see link to the story in the Portugal News: http://www.theportugalnews.com/news/dead-loss/28626).
OUTA remains hopeful that the new Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters, in consultation with the Presidency, will seriously consider the voluminous broad based opposition to eTolls, with a view to a new focus on an alternative solution that will be in the best interest of society. This will certainly avoid the potentially horrendous unintended consequences that may arise if the plan is simply forced into being.
OUTA is a willing stakeholder to find an alternative solution and is disappointed that SANRAL continues to waste millions of taxpayer’s Rands on a failedeToll advertising campaign, especially now that it becoming clearthey are unlikely to implement eTolls until after next year’s national elections, possibly as an attempt to dampen the negative impact this ill-conceived policy will have on the electorate.