OUTA notes the successful and peaceful protests conducted yesterday by COSATU against e-Tolls. We are encouraged that the federation continues to support the campaign against this current e-Toll plan, which is without question the most inefficient & irrational manner of collecting monies from society for this freeway upgrade. OUTA Chairman, Wayne Duvenage says that “we are also encouraged to see continued efforts from all sectors of society in opposition to e-Tolls which ultimately denounces a policy which is not in the best interest of the people”.
OUTA also expects the Minister of Transport to shortly announce their plans to launch e-Tolling on 2nd December. “We continue to be amazed that our Government, who are supposed to represent the best interest of its people, ignores the unrelenting opposition to e-Toll from unions, church groups, broad based civil organisations, all opposition political parties and the public at large”.
In addition to the public’s resistance and additional litigation challenges by political parties, the authorities must surely be concerned about the legality of e-Tolls which has yet to be determined. Duvenage adds “we are convinced there will be a legal challenge, or possibly hundreds, brought against the system by those who are summonsed for not paying eTolls, as has been claimed by many throughout public and social media forums and during surveys”. Given the current economic climate, financial pressure on households and high levels of unemployment, the introduction of e-Tolls could well be the tipping point for citizens frustrations, especially in this case where society feels vindicated and empowered in their decision not to participate in this unjust policy.
OUTA awaits the announcement by the Minister of Transport next week and trusts that SANRAL will provide much more detail about how they plan to enforce the non-payment of e-Tolls, using the Criminal Procedures Act, and how the strained justice system is expected to cope with thousands of cases resulting from non-eToll payment. Following the Ministers announcement, OUTA will consider its response. We are finalizing new strategies to empower society with their rights and knowledge to exercise civil courage and stand together to stave off this irrational policy. What we do know is that if society remains strong in their convictions, they will largely ignore SANRAL’s marketing efforts and resist their call for people to get eTags. Without sufficient eTag take up, this ill-conceived eToll plan will fail.