In response to media reports of the commencement of “on road enforcement” over e-tolls, the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance wishes to fully endorse the media statement by the Justice Project of South Africa released on 25th May 2014 (see https://www.jp-sa.org/media.asp, ).
Furthermore, OUTA wishes to explain, in support of JPSA chair Howard Dembovski’s subsequent radio interview on Talk Radio 702, that it does not regard itself a combatant in a “war of propaganda” to oppose Sanral over e-tolling, as suggested in the discussion with Stephen Grootes on Monday 26th May.
“Our commitment remains as it has been from the inception, in conjuction with a legal challenge, to ensure that the facts about e-tolling are brought out for open scrutiny by the public,” says OUTA Spokesperson John Clarke. “The term ‘propaganda’ has a negative association referring usually to the use of information in a biased and misleading manner, especially to promote a particular political cause or financial interest. While OUTA and Sanral have opposing positions as to whether the decision to embark on e-tolling was rational, we would unhesitatingly welcome any information that shows it to have been so.
However, since the launch of e-tolls some six months ago, the information flowing from empirical experience has overwhelmingly confirmed OUTA’s predictions of a system fraught with inefficiencies, billing problems and the sheer irrationality of the decision. When any government authority has to threaten financial and legal sanctions to have its way over the governed, it does not say much for the rationality and even less for the morality of its cause.
OUTA is a civil society organisation wholly dedicated to the cause of promoting social justice by making the bill of rights meaningful, notably the right to freedom of expression and access to information.”
OUTA wishes to remind the public of its comprehensive research and report titled “E-Tolls at an Impasse”, which is available on the OUTA website home page and provides a rational evaluation of the chances of the GORT system succeeding. “It is three months since we published that report. Now that the political and election dust has settled we would urge people – especially political analysts, journalists and academics – to read and interrogate our case and feel free to point out any lack of coherence in our argument and show us where our assumptions or conclusions may perhaps not correspond with empirical experience.” says OUTA chair Wayne Duvenage.