Bikers, motorists show e-toll gantries 'middle finger'

South Africa
The contentious e-toll system, which was implemented last December despite major resistance from opposition parties, the public and civil society groups, is plagued by billing problems. eNCA
Johannesburg, January 25 – A motorist’s banner-clad vehicle at the Drive Slow on Saturday. Picture: Jesse David Mulder
Johannesburg, January 25 – “Our salute to Sanral” - Bikers Against e-tolls. Picture: Jesse David Mulder
Johannesburg, January 25 – Motorists show their refusal to pay e-tolls during the sixth Drive Slow, since May last year, on Saturday. Picture: Jesse David Mulder
Johannesburg, January 25 – The middle finger seemed to be the message of choice of many protesters during Saturday’s Drive Slow protest against e-tolls. Picture: Jesse David Mulder
Johannesburg, January 25 – The middle finger seemed to be the message of choice of many protesters during Saturday’s Drive Slow protest against e-tolls. Picture: Jesse David Mulder
Johannesburg, January 25 – The middle finger seemed to be the message of choice of many protesters during Saturday’s Drive Slow protest against e-tolls. Picture: Jesse David Mulder
Johannesburg, January 25 – Motorists show their refusal to pay e-tolls during the sixth Drive Slow, since May last year, on Saturday. Picture: Jesse David Mulder
Johannesburg, January 25 – Motorists show their refusal to pay e-tolls during the sixth Drive Slow, since May last year, on Saturday. Picture: Jesse David Mulder
Johannesburg, January 25 – Four hours into the Drive Slow and motorists are still showing their enthusiasm for the protest and defiance of the e-tolling system. Picture: Jesse David Mulder
Johannesburg, January 25 – The sixth Drive Slow saw over 3,500 bikers and motorists taking to the highways in protest of Sanral’s e-tolling system on Saturday. The 27km-long stream of vehicles backed up the highways for more than six hours. Picture: Jesse David Mulder

JOHANNESBURG - Saturday saw one of the largest drive-slows since the first e-toll protest in May of last year as bikers and motorists took to the streets to make their voices heard.

The e-toll public protest kicked off from Portuguese Hall restaurant in Turffontein on Saturday morning, headed by a procession of nearly 2,500 bikers. Following were approximately 2,000 cars. The drive-slow spanned over 27 kilometres in length.

eNCA spoke to two of the organisers, both of whom said that the turnout was phenomenal.

Rob Hutchinson, from OUTA, commented, “After our #TagFree Facebook campaign last week, where over 230,000 people changed their status to show support, the turnout this morning was overwhelming. The resistance is growing.”

But despite this protest’s permits and a green light from the local law enforcement agencies, there were altercations with some JMPD officers. According to James Sleigh, one the founders of Bikers Against e-tolls, the morning began with a bit of a rough start when senior officers from the JMPD became antagonistic.

“We never have issues with any of the junior officers,” said Sleigh. “If anything, they are helpful and cooperative with our events.”

However, the protest permit was only for 300 vehicles and when masses of local motorists arrived at Portuguese Hall there were a few altercations with officers.

“One of our fellow riders was grabbed by the throat by a senior [JMPD] officer and a cop drove over another person’s foot in the chaos,” said Sleigh. “It is this kind of thing that makes me now question what happens at other protests where civilians are harmed by police”.

Sleigh continued by stating that depending on the outcome of the current court case with (Sanral spokesperson) Vusi Mona, they intend to open a class action suit against Sanral, to investigate the "perpetrators" that signed off on the e-toll project.

All along the N12 (Western Bypass) and the N3, the traffic came to an absolute standstill for almost six hours, but the energy was tangible. Showing their frustration by pulling the middle finger as they passed under each gantry, people from all walks of life showed their defiance to the e-tolling system.

“The level of anger from the citizens is growing and these are not people who come from a culture of rioting and protesting, but we are now taking a stand. We will not be economically oppressed,” concluded Sleigh. 

 

-eNCA

COMMENTS



LATEST STORIES

Shakes Mashaba made some surprise inclusions in his Bafana Bafana squad named on Friday.
One of the so-called Waterkloof Four is making another bid for parole after his attempt earlier this month was rejected by a newly-appointed parole board.
The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by IS fighters.

TOP STORIES view all

Four armed men robbed the i-Store in Centurion and escaped in three cars with Apple merchandise worth R1-million.
Healthcare company Netcare on Friday lost its bid to have KPMG blocked from working on a market inquiry into the private health sector, the Competition Commission said.
The Hawks foiled a cash-in-transit heist in the Free State, killing five of the robbers in a shootout, said spokesman Captain Paul Ramaloko.

NEWS STREAMcloseview all

This is the overlay

eNCA Subscriptions

Close