• All Share : 51999.9205
    DOWN -1.27%
    Top40 - (Tradeable) : 46395.0557
    DOWN -1.40%
    Financial 15 : 16420.393
    DOWN -1.53%
    Industrial 25 : 66782.8643
    DOWN -1.65%
    Resource 10 : 40799.5447
    UP 0.09%

  • ZAR/USD : 12.2638
    UP 0.26%
    ZAR/GBP : 19.2603
    UP 0.28%
    ZAR/EUR : 13.7292
    DOWN -0.01%
    ZAR/JPY : 0.0998
    UP 0.20%
    ZAR/AUD : 9.4073
    DOWN -0.09%

  • Gold US$/oz : 1180.13
    Platinum US$/oz : 1082.3
    Silver US$/oz : 15.8
    Palladium US$/oz : 667.55
    Brent Crude : 61.98

  • All data is delayed by 15 min. Data supplied by Profile Data
    Hover cursor over this ticker to pause.

Tue Jun 30 07:19:20 SAST 2015

Citizens must do more and ask less of the courts

Editorial | 14 December, 2012 00:02

THE battle to stop e-tolling on Gauteng freeways failed yesterday when the courts gave the government the green light to race on.

Though the decision is a blow to motorists and the organisations that had hoped that the courts would declare the project illegal, the question that should be asked now is whether we have outsourced our role as citizens to the courts.

Constitutional law expert Professor Pierre de Vos raises valid questions about South Africans (see his thoughts on Page 19). He says the middle class and the media have failed democracy.

De Vos says the e-tolls decision should serve as a warning to all of us that we should not turn to the courts in the hope that judges will solve our political problems.

He maintains that South Africans should be involved, and take action, on policy proposals that would have a direct bearing on them if implemented.

His argument is a bitter pill to swallow but should be a lesson to us all.

The tolling of Gauteng freeways was approved by the cabinet back in 2007. For five years, De Vos points out, we have enjoyed the smooth roads, seen the gantries being erected - and kept quiet.

But as soon as the media reported on the tariffs that would be imposed to pay for the improved roads we suddenly woke up and challenged the government.

We agree with De Vos that, as citizens, we should be vigilant and not use our courts to fight our battles for us.

If our fight against the tolls had started back in 2007, chances are that the government would have sought other means to fund the road improvements.

We should avoid making the same mistake again.

We must be vigilant and engage the government at all levels - and not outsource our rights and responsibilities to others.


If you have an opinion you would like to share on this article, please send us an e-mail to the Times LIVE iLIVE team. In the mean time, click here to view the Times LIVE iLIVE section.