Gauteng province in South Africa is one of the most congested provinces in Africa if not the world. It is has a World-class city (Johannesburg) in Africa. Prior to the world cup a lot of upgrade was done to the airport rail and roads. The government was taking responsibility and credit for all the upgrades, but for some strange reason they left that responsibility to a private company when it comes to the roads after the World Cup. Now the private company is doing every thing to extort money as quickly as possible from road users by installing expensive tollgates on all the roads that have been upgraded. They even proudly told road users that government is not part of it any more (literally saying Drivers you are on your own) . Now the country is up in arms fighting back, but just like Mubarak our leaders are far removed from the sufferings of their people. The minister of Transport Minister Sbusiso Ndebele even suggested that we use Public transport which they failed upgrade since they took over from white government as well.
South Africa has badly managed and maintained public transport with major transport Railway and taxi the riskiest modes of transport one can ever think of.
For government to consider tolling the public roads the public transport upgrade should be their main priority. This would help to releave some pressure from the national roads.
Most roads that are in dire need of repairs in Gauteng are municipal roads, what this tolling system will do to them is to divert traffic away from national roads to these municipal roads putting unnecessary pressure on them . Municipalities are already struggling to maintain them but money recovered from new e-talling won’t be used to repair these roads even though they will be under stress as a direct results of them.There is no question that we need better roads and that they don’t come cheap, but when the price of driving around you city become so expensive it defeats the purpose of a developing economy.
The impact of the e-talling with directly lead to high prices as we know in South Africa Tracks transport everything including coal on our roads. These prices of transport will be passed on to consumers thus leading to higher inflation.
Underpaid workers who depend on Public transport that the minister says we should consider, as an alternative will bore the brunt of these tollgates, as no Taxi owner will want to forfeit their profits. Trains are unsafe; as they are already not coping with pick hour passengers. You can see passenger hanging in opened door between carriages even on top.
The government seems to be detached from this and very soon municipal elections are coming. I hope they pull wool over our heads until elections and retreat to their safe suburbs, as all this does not affect them