When government announced its decision to bring e-tolls to Gauteng’s freeways, it said public transport such as taxis and buses would be exempt from e-tolling in the interests of the poor. Students however, were left in the dark after it was not made clear whether they would also be exempt and how this would be done.

AfriForum Youth, the youth wing of the minorities’ right protection organisation, AfriForum, has set up an online petition against e-tolls, encouraging other students to join them in taking a stand against the controversial tolling system and make Government and Sanral realise that most students do not have enough money to pay e-tolls

“This decision was made after President Jacob Zuma said at the ANC Manifesto Forum in Johannesburg on 22 October 2013 that students may be exempted from e-tolls. Exemption has, however, not been mentioned again,” the organisation said in a statement.

“Most students do not earn an income. Those who do, have an unpredictable income that is far below the tax threshold. Students can apply for personal loans to get the necessary financing to study, but these loans are expensive and have to be repaid at a massive interest rate. There are students who travel from their home towns to their respective universities every day, and such an individual trip can cost up to R178.00. All students are affected by the system,” Rochelle Oosthuyse, Chairperson of the Tuks branch of AfriForum Youth, said.

Students who wish to sign the petition can do so on AfriForum Youth’s website.