My 2 Cents on the Planned E-Tolling System for Gauteng
Most of you are probably aware of the ridiculously priced E-Tolling System for Gauteng’s roads that is being forced through to be implemented by February 2012 (less than a month from now). SANRAL is going through with this despite calls from the public for reconsideration (on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and online blogs) and threats of Mass Action by COSATU. There are indications that this might not be implemented on time, but it it doesn’t mean that it’s not going to be implemented eventually.
You might be in the dark about this whole system, so here’s how it works: Motorists can buy e-tags at leading retailers (such as Shoprite and Checkers). Motorists can also register for an e-toll account online at http://www.sanral.co.za/e-toll/ or at any e-toll customer care centre (that are spread all around Gauteng). An initial fee of R50 will be charged to register for your E-toll account and you willl need your ID or passport number, physical and postal address, telephone numbers, bank account details, vehicle licence plate number and the make and model of your vehicle to register. Two payment options will be available for E-tolling: You can have a prepaid account where once the account reaches a minimum balance you need to top it up either by having it linked to your credit card and a previously agreed amount will automatically be added to your balance or you can manually top it up through a payment to a customer service centre or at a pay point or through an electronic fund transfer. Or you can have a credit card settlement account where you use the toll roads and the cost is calculated daily and then deducted from your credit card.
In August 2011 the South African cabinet approved lower toll fees than those initially intended: The fees were set at:
- 40c per kilometre for e-tag holders and 58c per kilometre for non e-tag holders – For Light Vehicles
- R1 per kilometre for e-tag holders – For Medium vehicles (Class B).
- R2 per kilometre for e-tag holders and R2.95 for non e-tag holders – For long vehicles (Class C)
- 24c per kilometre for e-tag holders – For Motorcycles.
- Commuter taxis and buses are exempt from the e-toll system.
When you pass under the gantry gate the E-tolling system will pick up your e-tag and take pictures from the top, front and back to verify that the vehicle passing through the gantry and the account details listed on the e-tag are the same. If you do not have an e-tag the pictures will be used to identify your vehicle licence plate number and charged to your e-toll account. Vehicles without licence plate numbers will be flagged and the mobile National Traffic Policing Unit (launched by the Transport Department in 2011) will police these occurrences. It is said that this unit will roam the entire network on a 24/7 basis and will also be positioned at on-ramps and off-ramps to enforce toll and general road traffic rules on the route. Non-registered users will be billed and, using third party databases, will be sent an invoice which needs to be paid within seven days. If not paid, additional administrative costs will be applicable. Should invoices not be paid in-time, debt collection and law enforcement process will take place.
My 2 cents: I understand that someone has to pay for the upgraded roads but charging ordinary tax paying citizens the proposed ridiculous amount will cripple the Gauteng ecomony and will most probably cause overloading on the Gautrain system and massive traffic jams on roads that don’t have an E-tolling system, in my opinion. A large portion of Gauteng’s citizens struggle to make it through the month on their salaries. This will not be good for the people of Gauteng. This will also cause increases on the prices for food and basically EVERYTHING that gets transported by heavy vehicles in Gauteng. If you ask me, charging the 450,000 vehicles that use the highways between Johannesburg and Pretoria every day 2c per kilometer will probably result in a profit, why overcharge motorists at 40c a kilometer? One word ladies and gents: GREED. That’s all it is. Besides the fact that we get taxed on our salaries, the fact that two-thirds of the petrol price is actually tax going to the state and the fact that the cost electricity has gone up by 75% over the last 3 years, SANRAL still wants to push through this system. We can only pay THAT MUCH for stuff in this country. How do these people expect us to survive? I suppose time will tell if we do or not.