OUTA notes with interest the development relating to e-toll frustrations by the National Taxi Association. Following pressure from the Taxi industry in 2011, SANRAL offered full exemption for Taxis on the tolled roads, expecting their threat of freeway blockades would accordingly abate.
Today, some two years later, it doesn’t take much to see through the administrative bungling and e-toll complexities, to realize why the Taxi industry is protesting against e-tolls, even though they are supposed to be exempted from the costs thereof. The sheer weight of a cumbersome system which is fraught with maladministration and complex relationships is starting to crack.
“Monday’s Taxi protest is an indication of additional complexities arising from an unregulated industry onto which SANRAL is trying for force a cumbersome regulated process,” says John Clarke, OUTA’s spokesperson, who added “while we disapprove of the disruptions and damage to property, the many taxi drivers have every right to feel aggrieved by cynical co-option tactic by Sanral’s attempt to keep them at bay on the e-toll issue.”
OUTA also notes President Zuma’s comment on the e-toll billing errors this week. While this indicates that the billing crisis is now being taken seriously at the highest echelons of Government, OUTA would have expected President Zuma call Sanral’s to book for their threatening and disrespectful communication methods to herd users to buy e-tags? Sanral needs to urgently resolve this dire situation, whereby innocent people are being implicated and dragged into the net of intimidation and threats of criminal enforcement.
“We trust the authorities will now realize that SANRAL have sold them an inefficient, expensive, irrational and unworkable system, which has given rise to the country’s biggest single issue of resistance and friction between the state and its citizens in recent times” says Clarke. OUTA maintains that Sanral were out of line in trying to fob the billing crisis off as simple ‘teething problems’ and should sincerely apologize to the people and the government. OUTA calls on the authorities to suspend this ill-conceived plan, before the unintended consequences become too costly and dire for our country to endure.