Wits students driving their own cars to campus will be paying more for the privilege – especially those who live beyond the borders of Braamfontein. Vuvuzela calculated the average yearly cost for students driving to Wits with an e-tag: Witsies driving from Benoni will spend R1308, R707.88 from Centurion, R777.48 from Roodepoort and R154.92 from Johannesburg North. Without the e-tag the prices would be about double.
“Well obviously it requires more money for one to get to varsity and back [home], and in the same sense you have less money to spend so it cuts down on where you can drive. Before, I could go home during lunch but now I have to think twice,” said 2nd year medical student Zain Patel. But students who rely on public transport will not feel the effects of e-tolling immediately. Taxis and buses are exempt from e-tolling according to the recent budget speech by Pravin Gordhan. Gordhan had also said the government would subsidise R5.8 billion of Gauteng’s e-toll fees. “It would be better if petrol was compensated in place of e-tolling”, said Darrel Moodley, 4th year occupational therapy.
This comes after Tuesday night’s 28c petrol price increase to a record high of R11.05 per litre. E-tolls were a core issue raised by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in a mass action protest march in Braamfontein on Wednesday. Former Wits SRC president Bafana Nhlapo was also marching and said: “I’m here against e-tolling because it’s going to affect the poor man on the street because it’s going to cause a rise in basic commodities such as food, water and milk. As much as taxes exempt the poor it’s still going to affect the working class.” Many protestors wore bright red t-shirts with slogans condemning labour brokering, the other focus of Cosatu’s protest.
Anina Minnaar, Jay Caboz