Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

The basic principle of urbanisation is that people gather together for safety and to share the cost of providing common services such as power, water, roads, sewerage and security services. Only by sharing the costs do they become affordable, and all citizens contribute to the cost through taxes and rates.

Finance minister Tito Mboweni is suggesting that, because those elected to manage these services can’t get it right, the community should pay more.

We already pay for security because the SA Police Service can’t even secure their own premises, let alone the communities they serve. We install solar systems for water heating and increasingly for power generation.

It has also been suggested that we should all install water tanks to preserve rainwater because the infrastructure is inadequate or failing and the cost of water increases all the time. An increasing portion of my utilities bill — about 40% — is not for usage.

Now Mboweni is perpetuating the user-pays concept for the urban tolling project.  Just like municipal services, a large portion of the toll fee will go to cover the collection costs.

We have paid, and many do pay. If the government’s systems are not recovering general contributions to costs through taxes and rates, then Mboweni doesn’t how this country works.

Henry Watermeyer