I really, really have no expert opinion on this topic. However, as a citizen and road user, I have some thoughts.
1. SANRAL and the team are sneaky Russians for not getting the backing of road users from the very beginning. If they went about it better – i.e. not placing a tiny little advert in a newspaper so very few people could see it, but rather being open and honest about it – then we could have had a peaceful move towards this.
2. I don’t approve of public defiance. It generates the wrong societal attitude. The number of strikes in all sectors (with fatal consequences for some) are staggering, and they keep on coming. For so-called experts to tell road users to not buy e-tags is, yes, getting the crowd to stand together, but in a very ineffective and negative way. My view of leaders who want to make a change are people who do something and inspire people to do it with them, whereas we’re all being told to do nothing, which doesn’t make sense to me.
3. Jacob Zuma is one smart mo’fo’. Agreeing to launch the e-tolls and payment of using the highways is pure genius. I’d imagine less people will be using the highways (for either not owning an e-tag, fear of what would happen if they got caught or to save money), but government-issue vehicles won’t have worry because – as I understand it – the rest of us will be contributing towards the payment of those vehicles’ tolls anyway.
Again, all of this could have been way more peaceful if, from the very beginning, the people in charge went about this in a decent manner, giving everyone a fair chance to get prepared and not feel like they have had the rug swept from under their feet. SANRAL, government and everyone else making a tonne of money from this have tricked us good and proper. You have to tip your hat to them for that.
Well played, bitches. Well played.