'New' e-toll bill to enforce payment

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IOL mot pic aug27 e-tolling bill INLSA New law will give the Cross-Border Road Transport Agency the authority to collect tolls for the SA National Roads Agency Limited. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

The government has dusted off a four-year-old bill to legalise part of the e-toll collection.

The new law will allow another government agency to collect outstanding tolls at the borders from tardy truckers who fail to pay in Gauteng.

The Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill was approved by the cabinet at the beginning of August and the government has issued a copy of the bill and a notification that it will go to Parliament for approval.

The notification states that the bill was published for comment in December 2008 and again twice on the same day in March 2010.

Those three earlier versions of the bill have a different name - they are all called the Transport Law Enforcement and Related Matters General Amendment Bill. The 2008 version and one of the 2010 versions amended different transport laws and the third version is rather different from the current bill.

MAKING IT HARDER TO AVOID PAYING

This month's version of the bill says the new law will give the Cross-Border Road Transport Agency the authority to collect tolls for the SA National Roads Agency Limited.

It removes the levying of tolls from the ambit of the National Credit Act and it adds some presumptions, to make it harder to avoid paying tolls.

It presumes that the vehicle that ran up the tolls was driven by the owner, unless evidence is produced to show otherwise, and holds that owner responsible.

It also presumes that all the tolling equipment worked accurately, unless proved otherwise.

The memorandum issued with the bill says: “The bill has been necessitated by the development of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, as well as future plans for the development of road infrastructure in the Republic.”

It calls the bill “essential” to implement the electronic toll collection system.

Public transport (buses and taxis) was exempted from paying tolls in terms of regulations issued earlier this year; this is not referred to in the bill.

The e-tolling dispute was heard by the Constitutional Court earlier this month. Judgment is still being awaited.

The additional R2 billion bailout from the treasury for Sanral, announced during the hearing, has still not been issued. - The Star

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