A few months ago I went on a rant about the proposed Gauteng E-Tolling System (which was supposed to be implemented by the end of January 2012). Despite a public outcry and threats of strike action by COSATU, the Gauteng E-tolling system is still going to be implemented at the end of April 2012. South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordan announced the finalized rates for the Gauteng E-tolling system during his budget speech last week in Cape Town.
Toll fees are going to be reduced to 30c/km for ordinary vehicles (down from 40c/km) and motorcycles will now be required to pay 20c/km. Non-articulated trucks will now pay 75c/km and articulated trucks R1.51/km. Toll fees are going to be capped for regular road users at R550 a month. There will also be a 15 percent discount in rates after toll fees reach R400 a month. Tolling will begin on the 30th of April 2012. Commuter taxis and buses are still exempt from the e-tolling system.
All this is going to be implemented, despite the South African fuel levy which has been increased by 20c/l recently (which was apparently not earmarked to cover the costs of these upgrades). And the price of fuel is also going up AGAIN this week. Goverment did not announce the rates that motorists without E-tags would be charged, but I’m sure that it will probably be higher than the rates with e-tags.
If you ask me this just a big “Screw You” from SANRAL and Government. Since they could not get the proposed Toll Rates approved, they just decided to screw motorists anyway by increasing the fuel levy. Sour Puss Greedy Bastard Much? I’m glad I can still criticize them because the Protection of Information is not in legislation yet. Why are they so greedy? More than 400,000 cars use the highway between Pretoria and Johannesburg on a daily basis. If they charge motorists 5c per kilometer, they will still make a profit.
If this gets into effect, i’m sure that the 34,000 daily commuters using the Gautrain network will most certainly increase rapidly overnight. The only problem is that the Gautrain network only operates till 8:30 PM daily (something that needs to change soon if you ask me). I think that operators of the Gautrain network should brace themselves for an influx of passengers and they should probably sort out the bus strikes permanently as well. And businesses can probably also expect a negative impact on spending power of the people of Gauteng. Prices on every single product that is being transported by road in Gauteng will go up (you can be sure of that).
COSATU is still going ahead with strike action on the 7th of March and is also planning a strike on the 30th of April (according to recent reports in the SA Media). I’m sure that many citizens of Gauteng (who will be affected by this E-tolling system) will be taking to the streets and showing their dismay with this campaign to squeeze more cash out of the citizens of Gauteng. There will probably also be a huge outcry against this online and on all social media channels (like Facebook and Twitter).
What are your thoughts about this? Comment on this post and let the readers of Running Wolf’s Rant know. Watch this space for regular updates in the Opinion category.