It’s just another day on the campaign trail in South Africa. Solly Msimanga – the DA candidate for Premier of Gauteng and a fierce opponent of the e-tolls system – is set to make quite a “statement” on Thursday morning when he lights a bonfire outside of Sanral’s headquarters.
The beleaguered government agency has thrown in the towel in some respects, after confirming they would no longer pursue the historical debt owed to them by rogue drivers. Less than 30% off all road users in Gauteng comply with the tolls, and that defiance has left Sanral massively out of pocket.
Why Solly Msimanga is burning e-tolls statements
E-tolls have been in place for six years, and have proved to be one of the most unpopular changes to our roads in living memory. Their validity to operate has been challenged by both the DA and the Organisation for Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA). They have both expressed opinions which call the tolls “unconstitutional”.
So when Sanral went on a huge drive to issue summonses to non-compliant drivers, their opponents saw red. Several protests and harsh statements followed from the opposition party, who vehemently campaigned to get the agency to back-off. Sanral eventually admitted defeat last week, and it played right into Msimanga’s hands.
The debt is off, but the fight carries on
The former mayor of Tshwane says it’s unforgivable that people were asked to pay these debts in the first place. The battle may have been won, but the war is certainly not over for Msimanga and his team: He will proceed to burn the statements in Centurion as part of his demands to ditch the e-tolls project completely.
“The DA has received hundreds of e-toll statements from overburdened Gauteng residents who cannot afford to pay e-tolls. We will use these statements to create a bonfire and show Sanral and that this system is not working and that it must be scrapped.”
“The immediate suspension of pursuing e-toll debt by Sanral is not enough and we demand the scrapping of the system in its entirety.”
Today at 10am, we will burn hundreds of eTolls statements that we’ve received from overburdened residents who cannot afford to pay eTolls.
The immediate suspension of pursuing eToll debt by Sanral is not enough & we demand the scrapping of the system entirely.#ScrapEtollsNow!
— Solly Msimanga (@SollyMsimanga) April 4, 2019