14 November 2012

Open letter opposing etolls

This is my letter of complaint regarding the etolls. I decided to replicate it here because I received no acknowledgement that my letter has in fact been received. Government seems hellbent on rubberstamping this bullshit through, so I am merely putting this out there so they can't act surprised when they sit with the tax revolt and the civil disobedience when they try to go through with this highway robbery.

If you'd also like to add your voice, feel free to get the details from the government gazette and email these clowns. Also please support Outa if you can. Government is a gang of thieves at large (apologies to Rothbard).





Kindly note that I am opposed to etolling and any means of tolling any public road. I feel that the fuel levy should be sufficient to maintain roads and that tolling is not an efficient nor desirable means to pay for road maintenance. The treasury should foot the bill, as we pay taxes for maintaining infrastructure. We do not pay taxes for upgrading official presidency residences like Nkandla, nor do we pay taxes for petty lawsuits to protect the 'dignity' of a certain privileged elite. Taxes should go towards the benefit of the public. Everyone benefits when government does its job of maintaining public resources.

I am opposed to the user pay principle, because many road users from as far as Durban and even Cape Town do in fact use the Gauteng roads to transfer goods into and out of the province.  Furthermore, if one would like to maintain the user pay principle, then ALL of the road users - including ministers of parliament and public transport users - should pay for the privilege of using the road. A principle is only valid if it counts for everyone. There can be no exceptions, because if there are, the principle does not hold.

Since the government has been collecting fuel levies for quite some time, from all users, by means of the national fuel levy, there should have been enough funding available to maintain the road. The fact that there may not be, is not a valid reason to fleece the public some more. Rather, it is reason enough for the powers that be to abdicate.

In addition, I feel that the government is being dishonest here. We were not given 30 days to comment on the tolls, we were given less. Also, we should have been given this opportunity BEFORE any construction on the gantries started, not AFTER they have been constructed. Most of  the costs go towards paying for toll collecting fees (85c out of each Rand according to public information sessions), so this is ridiculous. These are externalities and do not relate directly to building and maintaining the road at all. Also, the tariffs are allegedly not new, this according to the Justice Project SA.

Finally, I feel that government should be responsible with managing public resources. It was irresponsible to gamble public pensions on this 'white elephant'. The road should have been maintained already, we already paid to maintain it and this was arguably the least efficient means that government could have gone about maintaining the road. Government should foot the bill and stop fleecing the public every time it makes a mistake.

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