Speaking to customers who have been lining up outside SANRAL centres in Gauteng, the mood was very sombre. Some were merely there to comply with company orders, while others were just complying with the new law, but said they don’t necessarily agree with it. Below are quotes from some of those who lined up to get their e-Tags.
“Don’t want a record for something as petty as this,” said Krishen. He added that he will comply with the law and pay for the use of toll roads but, like many others, hopes the e-Toll system fails.
“We need it for work, to comply. Otherwise we’re [fees] paying ourselves,” said Chris, explaining that his company will only reimburse employees for toll expenses if they have e-Tags.
“The website isn’t clear, on how to transfer new cars to old tags,” said Elizabeth. She originally obtained an e-Tag two years ago, but has since changed cars.
“Somebody has to pay for the roads. My husband is a traffic engineer and knows all the costs,” responded Hannelie, when asked how she feels about the new tolls. Her point of view was shared by some, but others felt that that government could’ve paid using existing taxes.
“Company registration requires it. We should have done it earlier, though,” said Lungile, also explaining that it’s a requirement from his employer to get an e-Tag, to keep toll costs down. While he intended to comply with the law, he expressed concern about the success of the system. “If they can’t bill water and lights correctly, my worry is that this will be a mess too.”
“Getting it, even though I don’t use the highways,” said Ismail, further explaining that he might occasionally have to visit family, who all lie further down the tolled roads. He also doesn’t hold hope that things will change politically, “I don’t feel that the DA will change much. At the end of the day it has to be paid for.”
“As a small business I cannot afford any drama, said Wayne, matter-of-factly. For small business owners paying the toll fees shouldn’t be a question, as legal proceedings could cost more than it’s worth to run the business. “It’s a small amount of money in my day,” he said of the R450/month maximum amount for e-Toll fees.
“It’s not worth it to fight anymore. I tried. I don’t want to be followed by statements,” said a dismayed Mtho. She, like many others, will cave and pay the toll fees. Obtaining an e-Tag will just relieve some of the financial burden.