E-tolls are a shocking rejection of society
The Minister’s announcement that e-tolls will commence on the 3rd of December has hugely ominous consequences for our country. E-tolling is a complex system and simply cannot succeed without an very high level of voluntary and committed compliance. “We are concerned that the Executive Arm of Government has failed to take society into its confidence, and in the process has sewn the seeds of what we fear will go down in history as a very costly failure, of something that could have been avoided”, said Wayne Duvenage, OUTA's chairperson. “There has been massive rejection from across the board – labour, business, the churches and civil society at large - yet the authorities simply continue to ignore this issue. It is extremely sad that Minister Peters seems to have been lulled into a dangerous sense of self –deception by the advocates of e-tolling.”
OUTA is moreover particularly concerned that, in response to a question by John Clarke, a freelance writer for the Catholic press, Minister Peters chose to criticise the South African Catholic Bishops Conference for raising ethical and moral concerns. In a recent statement the Chair of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission Bishop Abel Gabuza signed a strongly worded statement encouraging Roman Catholics “to consider whether it makes sense to participate in a costly and unjust way of extorting money from the people, and to urge them to demand the right to use our roads without having to pay for them in an unreasonable manner”.
“We believe that society has every right to be angry with Government’s e-toll decision. It is one that has lacked a meaningful public engagement process, one that has lacked transparency, one that has provided society with misleading information, one that is too costly and grossly enriches private offshore companies and one that the people simply do not trust,” says Duvenage. “Unjust policies have been successfully challenged before and this one is no different. In fact, it is grossly unjust and we believe the people will render it unworkable. It’s just a matter of time.”
OUTA will shortly convey new initiatives to empower society with civil courage to stand fast and reject this ill-conceived policy. In the meantime, we point out that it is not a legal requirement to get e-tags and people must do what they believe is right to resist this farce, which is clearly not in the best interests of the people of South Africa.