South Africa is the most important country on the African continent, and Johannesburg the most important city (sorry Capies). So when the idea of the tolls was introduced, my initial thoughts were “Nice! How progressive and European of our government. This will definitely show those haters that SA is moving forward and joining the first world”.
As the system began to roll out and all the trouble started, it dawned on me what the crux of the problem was: South Africa is an African country, (obviousysly, I know) not a European one. And as such, we need an African tolling system, not a European one.
South Africa, and Johannesburg in particular is a sparse land. It’s absolutely no big deal to live 15 driving minutes (at 60km/h) from your closest relative. This is the reason why the first thing a South African tells a visiting foreigner is “You’ll need a car”.
We South Africans enjoy the freedom to wake up on a Sunday morning, climb out of bed at 10, call our mates up and plan an impromptu braai at their house in Fourways. Hop in the car, the wife will be there later with the kids. leaving me ample time for some beers. This is the South African dream.
As always, the SA government has proven itself to be brilliant in theorising and planning but absolutely kak awful in implementation. If I was having a birthday party for 5 mates, I wouldn’t trust the SA government to bring the drinks. (I suppose I wouldn’t have invited them in the first place, would I?)
As I said above, the toll is a great idea for South Africa. It takes us forward and makes us better…more 2012.
But shoving the toll down the public’s throat, with little to no communication and most importantly coming in at a ludicrous R/KM fee of R1.79….you guys are a bunch of fools. Where exactly do you plan to go from R1.79? R2,50? And then what. What exactly is the plan?
As usual, no plan. Just the usual government greed that we’re so used to.
The toll could’ve been great for SA. If marketed timeously, carefully and gently, this thing could have been rolled out to the SA public as the next big thing in our lives. Something that was going to make us more attractive to the rest of the world, make us seem more advanced, make us proud of it.
Of course in the scenario I’m describing the toll would have had to be brought in at 10c a kilometre or something reasonable like that. You would need the people of the country behind something like this, so charging an exorbitant R1.79 wouldn’t be a good idea, and as we’re finding out, necessary.
This way too, when you increase the toll in 6 months to 20c, no one bats an eyelid.
There’s a been nothing but aggravation and furor since these e-tolls were suggested and rolled out and I wish the laywers in court today all the best in their attempts to get this virus of a policy crushed and thrown away.