The High Court ruled today that government had lawfully implemented the e-tolling system, and that the state extraction project outside of the SARS’ remit can go ahead.
Government hasn’t noticed that the e-toll debacle has kicked up a major resistance from the public, who are angry with government seeing as they waste billions of taxpayer resources each and every year that should be used for things like building and maintaining road infrastructure.
If government understood Ettiene de la Boetie’s thesis – written in the 1500s – that all that is required for the people to peacefully overthrow the state, is for the public to withdraw consent for the state’s rule over them, they would have taken another strategy with raising the funds for e-tolls.
They would’ve added another fuel levy to raise the cash and redistributed the resources from the private sector to itself and their cronies. It would’ve been perfect as they hide this theft from the private sector.
Instead, it is taking the wildly unpopular route of trying to force people to buy e-tags for their vehicles. Taxpayers don’t like visible theft like this, they prefer the unseen ones like money printing and VAT.
Now this is where it gets interesting. The Opposition for Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa), reckons that if only 15% of road users do not register for an e-tag, the weight of the e-toll’s invoicing and collection system will crush itself. In other words, if 15 in 100 people do not buy an e-tag, government can’t enforce the system. The backlog of invoicing and collections becomes too large for it to manage.
The state clearly believes that more than 85 of every 100 people will buy e-tags, so they believe the e-tolling system will work. My guess is the number will be much lower than that. The e-tolling system may be doomed for failure.
If this happens, the public will in effect realise that all they have to do to keep the state out of their lives is to withdraw their consent by not obeying the orders of their political overlords.
This e-tolling judgment judgment could just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and creates an underlying mood of disobedience of the people to the state.
At the end of the day, this is the beauty of the ANC. These guys have not read much political theory other than the freedom charter, which is no political theory at all, but rather a list of instructions of how to socialise the economy. The ANC cadres do not understand political philosophy, so they do idiotic things like this that may backfire very badly in their faces.
Let’s hope it does.