ANC’s Messiah complex

OK – the Direct Democracy Forum are paraphrasing Verashni Pillay’s words.  She actually wrote about the Government’s Messiah complex, but since the government is mostly the ANC, we don’t feel too bad about that stretch.

So, why are we engaging in ANC bashing again?  Actually no one is ANC bashing.  Instead Ms Pillay is voicing very legitimate concerns that the ANC led government at both local and national level are not listening to the people, and instead are advancing willy nilly along a path which has very little to do with what the people want.  Ms Pillay cites two current examples to illustrate her point and in doing so writes with the same words and concerns with which the DDF have been writing these past years.

We are not claiming that Ms Pillay endorses DDF positions.  In fact, we very much doubt that Ms Pillay is even aware of the existence of the DDF.  But like Ms Pillay, we are aware of South Africa’s opinion on E-Tolling.  A DDF administration would never have implemented E-Tolling and the DDF have undertaken that any DDF administration will dismantle all road tolls because the national roads system will be funded through the fiscus which in turn will be funded by TEAL.  This is not because the DDF are adopting a populist position but because the national roads system is a national asset from which the entire nation benefits and for which the entire nation should pay, not just a few captive users. 

This video elaborates on why e-toling is just plain bad policy.

The DDF also believe that the Johannesburg City Council’s eviction of street traders was the use of a shotgun tactic to counter a situation of lawlessness on the streets resulting from bad management of the streets by the ANC-led council.  Instead a more selective strategy should have been adopted targeting elements on the streets which required proper management.  In short, the ANC-led Johannesburg City Council did not do their jobs properly and instead unnecessarily messed with the livelihood of thousands of honest traders.

Simply put the DDF have the same opinions of the behaviour of the ANC led government at both local and national levels as Ms Pillay has.  The ANC are not prepare to manage the society which misplaced their trust in them and worse still, the ANC no longer even engage in the pretence of consulting with the people,  for when the people speak, even with a single voice, such as on the subject of E-Tolling, the ANC led government simply don’t listen but engage their Messiah complex to do what they believe is good for someone (we don’t know whom) instead of doing what the people believe is good for them.  And that is a charitable view.

A less charitable view is to follow the money trail of the E-Tolling debacle, to observe who benefits from e-tolling.  And the ANC led government and SANRAL are being remarkably coy about those details.  So the DDF asks itself why should motorists pay what probably amounts to more than double taxation to those invisible beneficiaries?

And the point of this rant is that Ms Pillay and the DDF are on the same page, even if Ms Pillay has never heard of us.  We are even on the same page that government should be consultative and not prescriptive and should suppress any messianic inclinations.  DDF Senate policies and DDF local government policies both use a process of deliberative democracy that should satisfy anyone’s need for a more consultative government.  So the DDF are quite happy that they and Verashni Pillay are on the same page, at least in these matters, and have little doubt that the DDF would be on the same page as Ms Pillay and many other South Africans on many other issues.

What makes the DDF different from any other political party in South Africa is its central theme of formal consultation at local government and national government levels and its ability draw on TEAL to adequately and properly fund all the needs of the country, while at the same time liquidating SA’s national debt and turning South Africa into a debt-free country, at least so far as its government is concerned.  No other political party can come anywhere near that promise.  Then there are all the other DDF policies to consider.

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The buck stops the ballot box.

E-Tolls

This article in M & G on-line gives a quite comprehensive account of tolling and e-tolls in South Africa.

The Direct Democracy Forum‘s transport policy includes the assertion that a DDF administration will scrap all road tolls.

Here are some of the reasons why:

  •  All national roads are just that, they are national.  The entire economy benefits from a well planned and maintained national roads system, so the entire economy should pay for the system.
  • To have only direct users pay for a freeway system places the burden of cost on a very few users instead of sharing the costs amongst all the beneficiaries. This is patently unfair and unsustainable.
  • Tolling is a tax but instead of calling it a tax, the tolling system dresses it up as private enterprise with related income and expenditure confined and visible only to the private enterprises engaged in the system, thus a large portion of national expenditure can escape public scrutiny.
  • Recent experiences with SANRAL illustrate this point graphically.
  • Tolling and in particular E-Tolling is a very expensive form of taxation, adding a very expensive and unnecessary layer of cost to the use of freeways, which must be paid for by hapless and helpless road users.
  • E-Tolling will be computer dependent and anyone who has ever had any serious experiences with computers will know just how badly that can go wrong click go wrong click go wrong……
  • Toll concessionaires are not accountable for their business methods or structures.  All they are obliged to do is to deliver an acceptable product.
  • While concessionaires will likely deliver this acceptable product, there is nothing that obliges them to deliver the product at the best possible price to the road user.
  • The concessions are for periods in the region of 20 to 30 years.  This does not encourage competition but in fact encourages monopolies.

For all the above reasons a DDF administration will replace all toll roads with road development and maintenance paid for from the fiscus, funded in turn by TEAL, and controlled through a rigorous public tender system.  Teal is probably one of the most cost effective tax systems possible and a well run tender system will deliver the best possible price for road development and maintenance, with none of the administrative overheads imposed by tolling and e-tolling.

The buck stops at the ballot box

Transport

background: 

 Strategies:

Bearing in mind the Direct Democracy Forum’s (the DDF‘s) intention to fund local, regional and national government from TEAL, and the DDF‘s policy of simplifying the living conditions of all South Africans, the DDF will be providing cost effective, attractive and convenient transport alternatives that can be voluntarily accessed by your average road user.  To achieve this the DDF will adopt the following strategies:

  • Scrap fuel levies.
  • Scrap all road tolling systems, including the controversial E-Tolls
  • Fund the nations roads, new and existing, through TEAL.
  • Revert to road maintenance at all levels based on public tenders.
  • Reserve certain roads to certain classes of traffic at certain times of the day to reduce peak hour traffic congestion.
  • Scrap annual vehicle licenses.
  • Initiate annual vehicle road worthiness inspections.
  • Introduce long-term drivers licenses, requiring re issuing at the age of 60, 70, 75 and 80, and thereafter annually, or re-testing after inception of driver debilitating diseases or injuries or after a score on a points system is reached through accident or traffic violations. 
  • Introduce short-term commercial drivers licenses, renewable at 1 and 3 years, and retested at 5 years, the cycle repeating itself indefinitely.
  • Upgrade rail transport for goods and passenger services.
  • Regulate use of road goods transport services where alternate rail transport is available.
  • Re-institute rural train services and develop more rural lines to dovetail with DDF policies for rural and agricultural development and rural renewal. 
  • Develop high speed rail links between major centers. 
  • Develop high speed suburban and urban rail services in all major South African cities.
  • Develop South Africa’s much under developed maritime fleet, particularly in the wake of the sale of Safmarine to Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk Group in 1999.

Conclusion:

The DDF believe that by

  • maximising the use of rail transport systems it can
    • significantly reduce the price of goods transported through the country and therefor
      • reduce the price of goods on the shelves,
      • relieve the burden on many of the nation’s roads thus
      • further reducing the cost of road transport and the cost of goods on the shelves. 
  • applying peak hour traffic management,  ease transport costs arising from
    • congestion delays, 
    • loss of fuel 
    • high vehicle wear and tear,
    • improve the quality of the commuter experience. 
  • providing desirable alternatives to road transport for urban and suburban commuters
    • we can further ease the burden on peak hour traffic and
    • further improve the commuter experience, and
  • shifting the emphasis from vehicle licensing to vehicle road-worthiness and driver licensing to driver competence, together with all the aforementioned strategies,
    • we can improve driver competence
    • improve vehicle safety
    • we can significantly reduce traffic congestion, 
    • reduce driver frustration, 
    • reduce driver exhaustion, 
    • eliminate road-rage, 
    • reduce accidents and 
    • reduce fatalities.

As a nation we simply do not have to tolerate a dangerous commuter and transport environment and the DDF has strategies that will change this environment for the better.