E-tolls in Gauteng have caused widespread outrage, the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) said on Tuesday.
“The outrage has been far-reaching, across all sectors of society and has galvanised a defiant citizens’ tax-revolt, not yet experienced in our young democracy,” chairman Wayne Duvenage said.
“Our socio-economy can’t afford this.”
Speaking at the public hearings in Midrand on the impact of e-tolls, Duvenage said the idea of tolling Gauteng was appealing.
“While the idea and technology of e-tolling for Gauteng was appealing, its execution has been left wanting for a myriad of reasons, many of which were predictable.”
The vast majority of users would not pay, he said.
“For this reason alone we say it is not failing but it has failed. The authorities will be well advised to call off the flogging of this horse, which was never alive in the first place.”
The SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) has said not paying e-tolls is both a traffic and criminal offence and people would be prosecuted.
Duvenage said authorities could try and force people to submit and get e-tags but could never force people to co-operate.
He said enthusiasm for e-tolls was very low and compliance at required levels almost impossible to achieve.
Gauteng’s e-toll plan was in trouble before it started because of poor research and because the public was ignored.
“Enforcement has serious unintended consequences this country can ill afford. We simply cannot return to being a police state.
“We believe the state cannot afford to be fighting with its citizens for years to come over R1.9 billion per annum.”
Outa had various proposed solutions, including suspending electronic tolling.
The gantries did not have to be broken down and could be used to monitor traffic volumes and find stolen vehicles.
“Suspend e-tolling as soon as possible and invite stakeholders to engage, seeking solutions for a truly integrated urban transport.”