Family reject dead aunt's e-toll bill

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IOL mot pic mar3 Gantry Ghost Independent Newspapers Fourteen years after he deregistered his car after it was stolen, a Zululand man this week got a funny shock when he received an e-toll statement. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng

Durban - Eileen Pinkney was driving a bakkie in Johannesburg in December 2013, according to the South African National Roads Agency Limited.

Yet she died at 96 in August of that year and had never owned a bakkie.

Pinkney’s Durban family have been receiving e-toll statements for charges incurred since 3 December and, although most of the charges are for a Toyota Corolla she sold in February 2013, her registration number has also been picked up on a bakkie.

Relative Robin Taylor said the photographs of this vehicle were too grainy for them to establish the colour, but it had crossed the e-toll gantries on a few occasions.

Taylor, 84, has also been trying to contact the new owners of Pinkney’s Corolla to establish why she was being sent their e-toll statements, even though ownership had been transferred.

But he did not know how to account for the bakkie with the same registration number.

A total of 32 transgressions, amounting to almost R1300, have been charged to Pinkney, who was living in a retirement village in Johannesburg before she died.

Taylor said: “My wife phoned Sanral about the statements and they asked her to send them a copy of her aunt’s death certificate and proof of the sale.

“One would think that with their systems they would be in touch with the data detailing vehicle ownership and even Home Affairs via people’s ID numbers.”

“I don’t need this.”

Taylor complained that he did not want to continue to deal with such errors.

“I am 84 years old. We have a busy life. I have heart and mobility problems and am also disabled.

Almost 8000 complaints have been received from motorists claiming they had received e-toll statements despite never having driven in Johannesburg or under the gantries.

Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona said any complaint was one too many.

“But, of the 2.6 million individual vehicles on these highways monthly, only 0.3 percent have complained - a very small percentage.

“Sanral is working with its service provider, the Electronic Toll Company, to respond to the teething challenges on billing and is putting in place measures to mitigate them.”

Mona said the e-toll system also enabled Sanral to highlight number-plate cloning.

“It is an unintended benefit of the system. Cloning is more than an inconvenience and could lead to serious issues for the rightful owner if a vehicle with cloned plates is involved in a crime.

“We have already helped the police track criminals who are cloning the number plates of legitimate road users.”

The Mercury

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