Outa ready to fight e-toll charges

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IOL mot pic jul11ST main OUTA newtown 334.JPG INLSA From left, Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance attorney Kevin Louis, John Zlarke, Wayne Duvenage and Howard Dembovsky brief the media on the way forward regarding the e-toll system at the Civicus House in Newtown. Piccture: Itumeleng English

Johannesburg - The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance believes the South African National Roads Agency Limited is on the verge of taking up the first prosecutions over unpaid e-toll bills.

Outa reaffirmed its readiness on Thursday to pick up the legal representation bill of the first person to come forward with a summons over unpaid e-toll bills.

The Alliance’s Wayne Duvenage said if they failed in this legal bid and the highest court ruled that motorists could be prosecuted for unpaid e-toll fees, it would abandon the campaign against the system.

Howard Dembovsky of Justice Project South Africa said many motorists had been threatened with prosecution, but none had actually received a summons.

RULE OF LAW

Duvenage said they had approached Sanral and asked that it delay any prosecution for non-payment until a resolution was found by Gauteng Premier David Makhura’s panel, which is reviewing the impact of e-tolling.

“We cannot have one section of government opening up dialogue while another section is shutting it down by using the force of law to coerce compliance,” said Duvenage.

He said Sanral had rejected the request.

Duvenage said in light of this, Outa would challenge Sanral’s policy of prosecution via a campaign called the Rule of Law. He said they needed the public to donate R3 million-R4 million to go ahead with the campaign.

“Without these funds, we cannot cover the legal costs for the best lawyers, to defend this matter,” he said.

He said any surplus funds would be used to pay off past Outa debts or would be donated to other civil organisations.

Duvenage said in the latest count, 35-40 percent of motorists had signed up for e-tags.

Dembrovsky said Sanral had refused to give the latest figures on how much money it had recouped so far, or how many motorists were co-operating.

The available figures were more than four months old.

In 2013 the high court ruled that e-tolling could proceed because the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project had been lawfully instituted.

The Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by Outa.

Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona declined to comment.

The Star



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