The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has reacted to the roads agency Sanral’s new decision to issue an E-toll summons to its defaulters. Outa says that it has “plenty of evidence” that proves that the Gauteng tolling equipment is unreliable.
The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) said on Monday that sheriffs in different jurisdictions in Gauteng will “over the next few days” be delivering civil E-toll summons to “road users who have persistently refused to settle their e-toll debt”.
To this, Wayne Duvenage, chairperson of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), said there can be no consensus for e-toll defaulters. This according to him, is because sanral’s equipment are yet to be verified and certified.
“The fact that Sanral has determined the liability of the user in terms of their equipment that has not been approved, verified, certified and re-certified in South Africa in accordance with South African legislation, generates additional complications to Sanral’s case,” he said. “Outa has plenty of evidence indicating the equipment is unreliable.”
Duvenage therefore said that those who would be at risk of the summons are those who have signed Sanral’s e-toll contracts under duress of Sanral’s initial threats of criminal prosecution. But now he says, “they will have a strong chance to defend their rights of ceasing to pay for the unjust e-toll scheme.”
“We know of many businesses and individuals who have paid up and cancelled their agreements with Sanral and by doing so, have joined the other 80 to 90% of the road-users who are not paying,” Duvenage added.
Sanral said the “decision to issue E-toll summonses comes at the end of an extensive period of communications” between itself and “vehicle owners who neglected to pay outstanding debts”.
The Outa chairperson however gave an estimate of between 60 and 70% of all Gauteng road-users who are yet to sign up or even paid. He said those number of people have valid reasons to defend themselves and are not at risk.
Since the introduction of the 60% discount of e-toll debt in November 2015, Sanral said it made it quite clear it will also introduce a process of debt collection against serial defaulters.
It also said that said the Electronic Toll Collection company (ETC) who run the system on behalf of Sanral has continuously announced this not only via social media but also through phone calls, e-mails and SMS messages.