Johannesburg - The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse has attempted to un-muddy the waters around legal campaign against e-tolls by calling on the South African National Roads Agency Limited to admit or deny whether it has agreed to a test case process.
Organisation chairman Wayne Duvenage has agreed with the AA that conflicting claims by Outa and Sanral have created nothing but confusion in the minds of the motoring public. Nevertheless he insists that Sanral, through its lawyers at Werksmans, has agreed to a test case process that will decide how to deal with the summonses that have been served on 152 of its members for non-payment of e-tolls.
He made it clear that this claim was not made lightly.
"We are serious when we say we have an agreement with Sanral. The fact that Sanral has denied this is not our doing, so it is Sanral that is causing the confusion. All we can do is call on the agency - as Justice Project SA has done - to answer this one question: 'Has Sanral, or has it not, agreed to a test case process with Outa?”
"It's that simple."
He explained that Outa had been opposing Sanral over e-tolls for a number of years on behalf of the public at large.
"It was for this reason that Outa launched its defence umbrella: to go to court and handle the legal process on behalf of its contributing supporters," he said. "It's a case of crowdfunding and mass defence action."
He admitted that the provisions of the test case agreement only added to the confusion; the organisation had asked Sanral to put all summonses for non-payment of e-tolls on hold until the test case was settled, he said, but Sanral had refused.
‘It’s a waste of public money’
"We know not everybody wants to join our defence umbrella," he said. "In fact, not everyone even knows about Outa. But for those who have joined us, we provide support and expertise to fight this matter on their behalf - and we hope the general public will benefit from the result."
"We believe all summonses against the general public should be stayed until the test case process has followed its legal course," he insisted, "but Sanral has remained stubborn in its refusal on this point.
"We believe that's a waste of public money. Not only will Sanral have a very difficult time trying to litigate against thousands of motorists while it's still involved in a test case, but its approach is likely to be frowned upon by the overstretched courts."
Duvenage said Sanral's legal team had undertaken to deliver an amended claim soon; if Outa's lawyers found no further legal defects in that claim, they would prepare and deliver a plea setting out the defences against it, in accordance with the agreed test case process.
"The stay of proceedings against members of the public represented by Outa's legal team is part of this same agreement," he said.
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