QASA has been lobbying and addressing SANRAL for more than two years to follow international practice within E TOLL systems all over the world to provide exemption for people with mobility impairments.

Especially in South Africa as we do not have an accessible alternative public transport system.

The partnership with the Opposition against Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) followed a legal route, challenging the consultation process and validity of the program. This legal challenge ended in December 2013.

QASA is now in a process of laying a Charge of Discrimination against SANRAL to the Human Rights Commission.

SANRAL chose to launch E TOLLS on 3 December, the International Day for Persons with Disabilities.

Members of QASA, and other wheelchair users and supporters, gathered to register for “E TAGS with exemption” at the Rivonia E Toll registration office.

This was after the Minister of Transport stated that people with disabilities would be exempt from toll fees.

No such exemption was on offer and the members present chose to demonstrate their unhappiness of being fooled by SANRAL.

A wheelchair, which was condemned and unrepairable was set alight to show the disappointment and anger that wheelchair users felt not being considered for exemption as promised.

“We must demonstrate our civil courage, and ensure that we have our rightful place within this urban tolling system. We demand the opportunity to own an E TAG, which must be exempt of any charges, whether we own a vehicle or not. This will give us an opportunity to remain on the road in Johannesburg and Pretoria. We fear that the system has been ill designed not to be able to accommodate a non-vehicle owning registration. This reality will only offer the opportunity for wheelchair users who own vehicles to be exempt, notwithstanding that 95% of wheelchair users do not drive and will not own vehicles, and need a facility of exemption to compensate those persons who assist them with lifts,“  says Ari Seirlis, CEO of QASA.

“I encourage people with mobility impairments who are receiving invoices for E TOLL not to pay these invoices, but to keep them on hand. We will be watching the legal process that will happen for people who do not pay. Furthermore, we feel that we have got a legal right not to pay as we do not have alternatives but to continue using the roads. People with mobility impairments are welcome to contact the QASA office with any enquiries and to speak to me directly”.

QASA is continuing to direct lobby and advocacy to ensure exemption for people with mobility impairments through this E TOLL system.

Another Driving Ambitions success

Bright Nzuza, a paraplegic from Durban, travelled to Gauteng to participate in QASA’s Driving Ambitions program. After only five lessons Bright’s hard work and determination paid off when he passed his driving test on his first attempt. Well done Bright!

Driving ambitions is a project of QASA, giving opportunities for people with mobility impairments who need adaptations on vehicles to learn to drive.

Death toll takes its toll

The total road deaths over the festive period were over 1400. QASA worries that these figures exclude people that have been injured, resulting in disabilities and have written to the Minister of transport requesting this information in order to plan for the “successful integration of quadriplegics and paraplegics from road crashes into society”, says QASA CEO, Ari Seirlis.

QASA continues with their road safety campaign by employing their members in partnership with the road accident fund during the festive season. Over 40 quadriplegics and paraplegics were involved in this campaign.