The gantries are watching

How does e-tolling technology work, and is a muddy number plate enough to beat the system? 

24 July 2019

A sure way to raise a Gauteng motorist’s blood pressure is to mention etolls. Politely described as ‘controversial’, they’ve resulted in one of the biggest civil disobedience campaigns in South Africa’s recent history. Disgruntled motorists are taking different measures to avoid the dreaded e-tolls, by avoiding the highways, not paying, or obscuring or removing their number plates.

When the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) launched e-tolling in Gauteng in December 2013, it tasked the Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) company with supplying and managing the system. Vast sums of money were spent installing gantries and infrastructure, but of the five million road users in Gauteng, only 1.8 million are registered for e-tolls.

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