e-Tolls: “I think we should just bite the bullet”

Motorists in Gauteng let out a collective sigh of relief when reductions in e-toll tariffs were announced in Parliament on Wednesday. To ensure compliance, e-toll payments will now also be linked to motorists’ vehicle licences – meaning one cannot renew a car licence without paying for e-tolls. PONTSHO PILANE asked Joburgers what they think of the revisions.

amo manganyiAmo Manganyi, 24, student, Parktown 
It is very concerning for me that the government is making it clear that this is not something that is up for debate. But I do understand they are also under pressure to pay for the roads and gantries. I think as citizens we can meet them halfway – that doesn’t mean it’s fair, but something must be done and the roads need to be maintained. I think we should just bite the bullet and do it. The e-tolls are clearly here to stay.

rendani ramovhaRendani Ramovha, 26, marketing consultant, Killarney
Nothing angers me most than the e-tolling system; I think it is an unfair system of making a group of people pay for the expenses that they did not cause. It is money being forcefully taken out of our hands and all we can do is accept it. Why is Gauteng the only province that pays for e-tolls? This is very opportunistic of the government. The route from Gauteng to Limpopo has the most toll gates in this country because they know that Zion Christian Church members travel to Limpopo during their religious holy days. Why can’t we have as many toll gates from Gauteng to KwaZulu-Natal or Western Cape? The government is clearly showing us that they don’t care about us and all they want are situations that suit them.

azra fredericksAzra Fredericks, 23, student, Johannesburg
The government’s new rule is ridiculous and confusing. They are trying too hard to make people buy into e-tolls when they didn’t implement it properly or consult the very people that it will affect. My car is in my mother’s name, so how will it work when she has to renew her licence but I refuse to pay for tolls? This is a big mess and government is only aggravating people more. To compare the electricity crisis to e-tolls would be a fallacy because electricity is a basic need. To be quite honest, e-tolls are first-world problems and not everyone is concerned with them as much because having a car is a privilege and not a need like electricity.

kananelo ramatshepeKananelo Ramatsepe, 25, banker, Midrand
I think this e-tolling system is rubbish to say the least. We were not consulted or asked about these roads – not even once. We were lied to and now we must commit to paying for something we didn’t even ask for in the first place. The government is taking advantage of us and they don’t even care. These new rules don’t make it better for us, so I don’t see how I can be happy about them. E-tolls must just be scrapped and motorists must be left in peace. I am fed up.

 alisonm buttonAlison Button, 40-something, facilitator, Johannesburg
I personally don’t pay e-tolls because the system in which they were implemented is far from transparent at the moment and I have no trust that I would be paying for what I am told I am paying for. It is also a tax that is unevenly collected. There are too many problems with the collection system. I don’t think we can compare the Soweto electricity crisis with how people have reacted to e-tolls. They are not the same thing. If they were, you would have an electricity crisis in other townships. Yet, from the public debates I have heard, people from other townships take a dim view of the non-payment for electricity by Soweto residents. These are separate issues.

– Voxes have been edited for brevity and clarity; featured image via Wikimedia Commons, all other images by Pontsho Pilane.