Credit Act won't relieve e-toll debt

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IOL mot jan14 gantry new . File photo: Reuters

Johannesburg - Debt counsellors should inform their clients that the National Credit Act (NCA) does not allow for debt relief from e-tolling fees, roads agency Sanral said on Wednesday.

“Responsible debt management firms must advocate that these individuals register for an e-tag in order to ensure they incur the lowest cost possible should they wish to continue to use the network,” Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona said in a statement.

“This not only enables discounts and easy management portals, but ensures that the already financially stressed consumer acts responsibly.”

Mona said anyone seeking debt review would not get any relief for the amounts incurred by using the Gauteng toll road network.

Although Sanral sympathised and accepted that tolls added to the consumer's burden, registering for an e-tag meant a road user paid approximately 5.6 times less than what they would if they were unregistered.

Mona was responding to a claim by a debt management firm that there had been an increase in the number of people seeking debt counselling since the start of the year.

In November, Sanral CEO Nazir Alli told reporters in Midrand that motorists were expected to pay within seven days of receiving e-toll bills or they would be handed over to debt collectors.

“If debt collection fails, the Criminal Procedure Act will come into effect and such motorists will receive summons to that effect,” Alli said at the time.

Mona said on Wednesday that although registering for an e-tag was not a legal prerequisite, “it is the most frugal thing to do other than using public transport and limiting their use of the Gauteng road network”. -Sapa

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