Two anthrax scares and a bomb threat – all in the same week. You could be forgiven for thinking that I’m taking about the US embassy in Teheran, or Addis Ababa.

Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. The target is not the diplomatic mission of some hated foreign power, situated in a war-torn region where cultural and religious fanaticism override the rule of law.

Far from it; yet people’s increasing animosity towards the South Africa National Roads Agency () and should not be ignored, nor taken lightly.

Let’s not forget, these threats were not made by some gun-wielding Al-Qaeda members, calling for global Jihad. The perpetrators of these threats are most likely normal, law-abiding people, like you and me, living in a democratic country.

Taking this into account, it is perhaps time that government and sit up and listen. Perhaps there is still time to withdraw gracefully and admit that is not the right solution to a problem that was created by government’s failure to spend annual budget allocations on regular road upgrades.

Not only did choose to ignore large-scale opposition to the e-toll system before it was implemented, it furthermore decided to take a threatening and antagonistic attitude towards the very people it expects to fi nancially support the system and keep it going. Not very clever.

And not that the financial impact of is the only gripe that motorists have with the system. In recent weeks, it has become abundantly clear that is negligent, if not downright reckless, with people’s personal information. From an IT point of view, the e-toll system has been shown to be a big fail.

In this day and age, it seems almost unfathomable that a state agency, the size of , would be so blasé about exposing users’ personal data and leave them vulnerable to attack. This just highlights a lack of planning, competence and readiness to roll out a system of this magnitude.

What’s more, ’s response to the vulnerabilities have hardly been confidence-inspiring, with the agency choosing to rather play dumb and deny that it has a problem, or downplay the signifi cance of the issues.

Unsurprisingly, refuses to be drawn on how many of its registered users’ information has been compromised and experts predict that it is only a matter of time before phishing attacks are launched against registered motorists.

All of this only serves to further alienate the motorists that are expected to open their wallets and bankroll a system that was widely rejected before it even came into being, and no amount of propaganda is likely to turn the tide.

It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when this system will collapse. When that happens, few are likely to shed a tear. Tick tock, tick tock…

Happy reading!

Martin Czernowalow