A video posted by Arrive Alive has gone viral, showing the lengths to which some Gauteng motorists will go, to avoid having their number plates being picked up by e-toll gantries.
The video shows a driver playing ‘hide and seek’ with e-toll cameras, as a black shutter covers their number plates as they head toward one of the gantries.
As soon as the car is clear of the gantry (and the cameras), the cover retracts and the number plates become fully visible once again.
— Arrive Alive (@_ArriveAlive) February 26, 2018
Hiding number plates in this manner is nothing new in South Africa, and is one of several ways to avoid them being picked up by a speed camera – other methods include reflective spray, laser jammers or flipped plates.
However, South African law states that it is illegal to obscure a vehicle’s number plate (with only temporary obstructions like bicycle racks allowed), and traffic officials have warned that using reflective spray or other measures could lead to charges of defeating the ends of justice.
End of e-tolls?
On Monday (26 February), Gauteng premier David Makhura conceded in his state of the province address that e-tolling around Johannesburg had failed.
Makhura said that the system was simply not working, and promised that he would approach newly elected president Cyril Ramaphosa to discuss solutions.
“We all know that the e-tolls have added to the cost of living for many motorists and public transport users in Gauteng. The new dawn (leadership change) must also bring a solution to the protracted and unresolved problem of e-tolls,” Makhura said.
“It is loud and clear for all to see that e-tolls have not worked. Accordingly, I will engage President Ramaphosa to find a new and more equitable funding model to support the continued expansion of Gauteng’s road network and public transport system.”