Afrikaans-speaking drivers - who are termed alternative e-toll users - will be charged a third less for their e-toll bills than their English-speaking counterparts.
This according to the signed Government Gazettes for the e-toll tariffs, which refers Afrikaans alternative users to a cheaper column listing of tariffs than the one indicated in the English version.
Justice Project South Africa noticed the mistake in the gazettes, and chairman Howard Dembovsky said its lawyers believe this could render the e-tolling regulations invalid and may entitle drivers to claim a refund of e-tolls paid.
For instance, on the Barbet e-toll gantry on the N1, English-speaking, non-registered users would pay R5.80 and alternative users R17.40. In the Afrikaans gazette, alternative users are referred to the non-registered users column at R5.80.
Dembovsky said this introduced severe interpretation issues.
“Sanral and the department of transport have been entirely unco-operative with our requests for clarity on the enforcement process.
“Both the tariff notices were signed by the acting director-general of the department of transport and therefore have equal but conflicting weight.”
He said the Justice Project’s attorneys had sent letters to the minister of transport on Tuesday, calling on her to “immediately repeal the offending tariff gazette and to instruct Sanral to cease the levying and collection of e-tolls until the matter is corrected”.
On Wednesday night transport department spokesman Tiyani Rikhotso said the mistake did not invalidate the law. It was being corrected and a revised version would be published soon. - The Star