Hansie Smit
Hansie Smit

E-tolls: Walking is, well, the way forward

I sincerely hope Cosatu marches those e-toll gates back into the earth where they came from next week. I really do. If there is one protest specialist capable of pulling it off it’s Zwelinzima Vavi and his red army. But I don’t think they’ll succeed. Not even with two million people.

Looking at the size of those gates you probably need more than couple million bodies to push them over. I rode underneath the things on my motorbike the other day and I can assure you those mothers are solid. Like someone put them there for the long term.

So I’m afraid come Monday Mr Vavi and his charges might as well keep walking and continue doing so, back and forth to work, for the foreseeable future. Ditto the rest of Joburg. Sorry guys, but that might be the only way you’re going to beat this thing.

Hang up the car keys, buy some New Balance (I hear Salomon is a lekker brand also) tekkies and hoof your way to the office. School kids do it all over the platteland every morning and you don’t hear them complaining now, do you? Sure it’s a lot more pleasant strolling barefoot on the gravel as the sun comes up over the Swartberge, but let’s look at the positives.

There you are at 4.30am, briefcase in your hand, walking along in poly shorts, making your way from Gillooly’s towards Buccleuch. Who do you see walking your way from the Woodmead offramp? Mike from accounts. Mike’s got his ski pants on this morning, looking very chipper with a muffin in one hand and smiling from ear to ear.

You greet Mike with a friendly “Howzit?” and before you know it the two of you are going at a canter, taking in the morning smog like there’s no tomorrow. People join from all sides chatting away like they haven’t seen each other for ages.

Some guy has a boom box on his shoulders. Gareth Cliff’s morning show is on full throttle. A pumping tune comes on. Everybody’s dancing. From the other side of the highway the night shift crowd waves their approval. It’s Mardi Gras with less make-up; sticking it to the man whilst walking to the man.

Commuting has never been this much fun.

You and Mike break away from the pack. It’s getting late and that expense report’s not going to mail itself. You hook on the earphones, put your power song on (A-ha – Stay on these roads) and sprint in to work.

No traffic lights, no toll, no sweat. Well, lots of sweat actually. You’ll have to take a shower before you sit at your desk but at least it’ll feel like you’ve had a great day already and guess what? Come five o’clock you’ll meet Mike out front and get to do it all over again.

I really think this is the way forward in Gauteng.

Maybe it’s a good idea to get big business on board and really snowball this baby. Put up some billboards. Get people excited about walking again.

Something like:

Or for the upwardly mobile:


I don’t know. It’s worth a try.

Like with our ruling party, it’s time to consider the alternatives. If Cosatu and AfriForum and Outa (get Outa my way!) and the DA and Jan Alleman and the Congress of SA Trade Unions all fail to put a stop to this madness, poor Joburg may have to play tag until Kingdom come. Shame man. I mean what’s next? R1 to take a piss?

Wait. Oh God…

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