E-toll protest goes airborne

An aircraft towing an anti e-tolls banner took to the skies of Johannesburg on Tuesday as part of a new DA protest.

The red and blue banner read: “fight e-tolls, vote DA”. The plane circled Germiston, on the East Rand, before flying over all the newly-tolled routes.

Democratic Alliance Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane said people needed to use their votes to fight e-tolling.

“If people oppose tolling, they must vote for a party that opposes it,” he told reporters in Johannesburg.

“If you oppose tolling, you must oppose the current government.”

He reiterated that motorists were under no obligation to register for e-tags and said he would not register his own car.

The SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) went live with its collection of e-tolls on Gauteng highways shortly after midnight, following several unsuccessful attempts to halt its implementation.

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters announced on November 20 that the e-tolling of Gauteng’s highways would begin on Tuesday.

On Monday, an application by the Freedom Front Plus to stop e-tolling was struck from the roll by the High Court in Pretoria, for lack of urgency.

The DA said it intended taking its fight against e-tolling to the courts, arguing that the legislation providing for e-tolls was incorrectly tagged as national, rather than provincial.

Maimane said that when the matter came to court, the constitutionality of e-toll collections would be tested.

The DA launched a campaign against e-tolling last month. It erected a billboard on the N3 highway in Germiston with the slogan “A vote for the DA is a vote against e-tolls”.

African National Congress spokesman Dumisa Ntuli said at the time: “The DA uses e-tolling as a trump card to entice voters because they are divided on issues of leadership, equity and BBBEE [broad-based black economic empowerment].”

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E-toll protest goes airborne