Why so quiet, Minister Mbalula?
Unusually for the normally garrulous Fikile Mbalula, the minister of transport, he has gone deathly quiet on the subject of the e-toll system, whose fate should have been decided by the end of August.
In the meantime, Sanral, operator of the roads, says it is looking to extend the range of options for usage of e-toll accounts.
These include vehicle licence renewal payments, cashless parking and even fuel purchases.
There are two ways to view this development.
First, perhaps Sanral has accepted defeat on e-tolls and wants to put the expensive electronic infrastructure that powers them to some socially acceptable use.
On the other hand, perhaps Sanral knows something we don’t: that e-tolls won’t be scrapped and that defaulting motorists may be lured into the system through sweeteners, such as the ability to use an e-tag as a form of debit card.
We certainly hope it is the former because, if it is the latter, the e-toll fight will continue.
If it does, and now that Sanral – and the ANC government – have accumulated more billions in debt because motorists won’t pay, they might start using heavy-handed intimidation tactics. But, they should be warned: motorists are ready for a fight.
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