Despite the reduction in e-toll tariffs, the sentiment towards the systems remains largely negative, according to a sample of people News24 spoke to on Thursday.
Daylight robbery, fears of number plates and licence disks being cloned or forged, and the impact on business were some of the concerns voiced.
“I’m not going to pay that thing,” said bank employee Bianca Giba.
“I do have an e-tag for my two cars and I was paying it faithfully. Then I stopped paying and received a R10 000 bill in March.”
She feared she would have to pay in order to get her licence disk renewed and had resigned herself to this, but was hopeful about getting a discount on her outstanding bill. She however acknowledged that the highways did seem to be in better shape.
“The highways are looking much better, but it’s a lot of money to pay back.”
She and business owner Naomi Brandt both feared that the system would lead to number plates and licence disks being forged and cloned.
“What scares me more than anything else is if somebody’s cloned my licence plate. There’s probably some Nigerian whose already figured it out.”
She said it was silly to restrict people from getting their car licences renewed until they had paid their outstanding fees.
‘The government holds you to ransom’
Bar owner Urs Roos, who is originally from Switzerland, expressed this more strongly: “The government holds you to ransom.”
He was, however, one of the few who paid, albeit reluctantly.
“We use it, then we pay. We have to, but only when we get the bill. We try to avoid the e-toll, but it’s not always possible.”
Both he and Brandt said the tolls had not affected their businesses.
However brothers Thabo and Gregory Mothibedi, who run a picture framing business, said the tolls had forced the companies supplying them with glass, frames, and mirrors to increase their prices. The business is in Kensington and the suppliers are in Roodepoort, Edenvale, and Linksfield, meaning that they had to use highways to deliver to them.
“Prices of one supplier have gone up twice this year. We’re not interested in e-tolls. It’s daylight robbery. Zuma must pay e-tolls for everyone. He’s taking our money to support his wives,” they joked.
Delivery driver Busi ‘Big Show’ Lephoto wondered why the fees were not decreased from the start.
“The extra money comes out of the bosses’ pocket. They just build this and said you must pay,“ he said, angrily puffing on his cigarette.
Butcher, Carol Primich, who uses the highways to travel to the airport and to visit her sister in Benoni, was not satisfied with the lower toll fees.
“A cleverer thing would have been to put it on the petrol,” she said, referring to the view that the fuel levy should have been increased.
“If we have to, we have to [pay]. But I will hold out as long as possible,” she said.
‘My wife pays. She’s stupid’
Leon Harmse was adamant that most of his family, including his son, mother, and father, did not pay.
“I said fuck that. My wife pays. She’s stupid.”
He felt sorry for his son who worked in Sandton and had to use the highway to get there. He wanted to know if getting a new car licence would be affected by having outstanding e-toll fees.
Car guard and pensioner David Tjale said the tolls were a “shit thing”.
“We pay tax. What are they doing with our tax? When you buy food you pay VAT. What are they doing with that money?”
He earns about R1 200 a month from watching cars, gets a R1 000 pension and owns a 1978 Mercedes-Benz with a broken odometer that he uses to drive to Pietersburg, where he lives, occasionally.
He said the tolls for the trip cost him about R500. He wanted to see an end to money wasted through corruption and said higher car licence fees could be used to pay for better roads.