User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

The year 2006 marks the start of Sanral’s nemesis over tolling decisions, because it was in that year that Sanral CEO Nazir Alli refused to listen to a judge, a bishop and a queen, all urging him to meaningfully consult. His manifest failure to do so before negotiating with road construction consortiums over tolling concessions for the N2 Wild Coast and N4 Maputo Development Corridor toll roads has now become massively compounded in the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project. In 2006 it was budgeted at R6.2 billion. Then the cost escalated to R11.4 billion in 2008 before again mushrooming to R18 billion in 2011. There are many good reasons for users of the freeways to refuse to pay their e-toll bills, but the sheer injustice of having to now pay a debt that has a large but still indeterminate odious portion, is perhaps the most persuasive of all.

Add a comment

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

“It is common to oppose a truth, but impossible to resist a story”, said spiritual writer Anthony de Mello. Twenty years ago democracy was about enabling people to cast their vote in freedom. Today it is about the counting of votes to feed the addictive intoxications of power. Is the best antidote spoiling of ballots in protest? Inspired by some words from the African master storyteller Ben Okri, the writer says story telling offers an alternative, better suited when too much power for too long has rendered the intoxication a chronic condition.

Add a comment

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Thanks to Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africans have come to think of ourselves as the centre of the democratic universe. After the miracle birth of democracy twenty years ago, he was one of the architects who drafted a Constitution that has become the envy of the world. Continuing the theme of storytelling as antidotes to the intoxicating effect of power, one can tell two stories stemming from North Africa, hoping that Cyril Ramaphosa reads them, in preparation for his future, and long-awaited, accession to executive power.

Add a comment

User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active
When Sanral Chief Financial Officer Inge Mulder reiterated the threat to e-toll refuseniks that they could be thrown into jail if they did not pay their e-toll by the end of April, my mind wandered back to two watershed moments in history. The first happened in 1895, the Jameson Fiasco. Historians imprecisely call it a ‘raid’, but since it ended before it began, but had massive ramifications, it is more fitting to call it a fiasco. Their mission, conspired between Cape Prime Minister Cecil John Rhodes, British Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain, the American mining engineer John Hays Hammond and Jameson, was supposed to reinforce the aggrieved locals (the uitlanders) who were supposed to have been under siege after having supposedly mobilised against the injustices of President Paul Kruger’s Zuid-Afrikaanse Boer Republic. The hapless raiders, under the command of Dr Leander Starr Jameson, were intercepted before they could reach Johannesburg. Unfortunately for the conspirators, the Joburg residents, including my great-grandfather, had about as much enthusiasm for joining an armed insurrection than they had for paying tolls. It was a spectacular flop. The ringleaders were arrested and thrown into jail (including Frank Rhodes, the brother to the Cecil John, as well as the hapless Hammond). Add a comment

User Rating: 4 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Inactive

When officials are “cowardly”, they open the space for civilians to rise to the occasion and take more courageous action. It’s not a solution, but there are moments when we see the benefits of the courage of citizens. At a recent post-Nkandla Report public meeting at Wits University, Public Protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela was asked in question time what advice she had for her successor. “Be a coward.. like me,” she said disarmingly. “Cowardly” is not how anyone, even her enemies, would have assessed her character. She explained that all she had done was to perform the job mandated by the Constitution, to remain within her legislated powers, and take care to only make findings that could reasonably be substantiated from available evidence on a balance of probabilities.

Add a comment

About John GI Clarke

John Clarke hopes to write the wrongs of the world, informed by his experience as a social worker and theologian, to actualise fundamental human rights and satisfy fundamental human needs.  He has lived in the urbanised concentration of Johannesburg, but has worked mainly in the rural reaches of the Wild Coast for the past decade.  From having paid a fortune in toll fees he believes he has earned the right to be critical of Sanral and other extractive institutions, and has not held back while supporting Sustaining the Wild Coast (www.swc.org.za), the Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute (www.safcei.org.za) and the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (www.outa.co.za), in various ways.

Search