Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

South Africa: E-Tolls - Day One of the Big Switch-On, and the Backlash Continues

analysis

After years of resistance, e-tolling began on Tuesday on highways that have been upgraded by the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project. The South African National Roads Agency Limited's (Sanral) lawyers were right, the world did not come to an end.

But neither has the fight. Despite government's continued assurances that tolling is necessary and above board, anti-tolling activists are as determined as ever to fight the power.

Sanral boss Nazir Alli and Transport Minister Dipuo Peters defended the system on Tuesday. Both followed the tune of the recent public relations campaign, using figures to defend critics, who they call myth makers, and citing the court judgments allowing tolling to proceed. Their key points are that 83% of drivers will only be charged R100 a month and only 0.6% of users will reach the maximum cap of R450 a month.

"We are very disappointed that some of our citizens and leaders, including those who have in the past styled themselves as champions of the rule of the law, will not this time around accept the rule of the law," said Peters. "It is very unfortunate that when people complain about the cost of e-tolls,...

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