Deeply Unpopular Road Tax in the City of Gold: Charles van Onselen Looks at E-toll’s Historical Precedent
The new deal addresses some of the important grievances with respect to the tolling system by reducing the tariffs and lowering the monthly tariff caps.
Camilla Bath has written an article about changes to the e-toll tariff structure. Read more about the concessions of the arrangement:
If a motorist is an infrequent user and goes under fewer than 30 gantries a year, there will be no charge.
Public transport vehicles (buses and taxis) that have valid permits will remain exempted.
Motorists no longer need to purchase e-tags in order to benefit from the lower tariffs. Everyone gets the same deal regardless of whether they have an e-tag or not.
All motorists will get a 60% discount if outstanding e-toll bills are settled within the next six months.
Contemporary residents of Johannesburg might be surprised to learn that the dissent and anger about who pays what for driving where predates those odious gantries. Tolling strife goes all the way back to the days Afrikaner Republic, who saw the English city of Johannesburg as “more of a cash cow than a city entitled to independent management”.
There are, perhaps, some uncanny parallels to be drawn between then and now.
Van Onselen wrote an article about early tolling in Johannesburg for Business Day:
Lacking the administrative competence or expertise to run the system, the state looked instead to the market and private enterprise to manage the tolls. The right to collect tolls at stipulated points was put out to tender, with winning bidders being left to manage the risk of making a profit or sustaining a loss. Despite it being a hazardous business, scores of tenders were awarded and toll collectors appointed. The tolls, for some time, produced a handsome return. In just four months in 1894, for example, the state benefited to the tune of more than £9000 – the equivalent of between £4m and £5m (R46m-R58m) a year in current terms.
- Showdown at the Red Lion: The Life and Times of Jack McLoughlin, 1859–1910 by Charles van Onselen
Find this book with BOOK Finder!
» read article