'E-toll cases tough to prosecute'

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IOL mot pic jul16 E-toll Gantry

INLSA

The law provides for the criminal prosecution of non-payers, but it will be hard to do so while there is a pending case on e-tolls. Picture: Karen Sandison

Pretoria - It will be hard for the South African National Roads Agency Limited and National Prosecuting Authority to prosecute e-toll defaulters as there is a pending case in the North Gauteng High Court on the constitutionality of the system.

This according to advocate Roelof du Plessis, who represented the Tollgate Action Group in an application to try to declare e-tolls unconstitutional.

In January Judge Maria Jansen ruled that the application was not urgent and ordered it be placed on the normal court roll. The TAG is made up of the Freedom Front Plus, Transvaal Agricultural Union of SA and the National Taxpayers’ Union.

The NPA has appointed two prosecutors to work with Sanral on the non-payment of e-tolls.

Du Plessis said the law provided for the criminal prosecution of non-payers, but it would be hard to do so while there is a pending case on e-tolls.

“Sanral knows it cannot prosecute people if there is a pending case,” he said. “If they try to take anyone to court these issues will be raised.”

Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance chairman Wayne Duvenage said Outa believed the prosecution announcement was made in bad faith.

“How do you prosecute people while the premier has started a review panel?”

Last week, Gauteng Premier David Makhura announced an e-toll review panel to assess the effect of the system on the province’s economy. It is to meet for the first time on Thursday and submit its findings and recommendations to the provincial government by 30 November.

Duvenage said Outa had approached Sanral, asking it to withhold prosecutions until the findings of the panel had been released in November, but it declined to do so. Outa would assist some of the first people taken to court.

“If the people give us a mandate we’ll help them,” he said. “People are giving us donations but we still need more money to go to court.”

Pretoria News


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