Picture: Boxer Ngwenya

Johannesburg - A Sanral statement to explain payment methods for road users who have received notification that they owe money for e-tolls has done little to ease tensions.

The Sanral Violations Processing Centre (VPC) deals with all e-toll payments and debt collections. The statement yesterday said unregistered users were able to use the website, but had either to set up an account with the VPC or enter their ID number and licence plate number to check for amounts owed.

The VPC account does not mean that a road user will be registered as an e-toll user.

“You need more than your ID and licence plate number to register. Other factors like addresses, contact details, etc have to be included if you were to register,” said Meropa Communications spokeswoman Yolisa Pasipanodya, who issued the statement on behalf of Sanral.

However, once on the website, the option to search by a VPC account number alone results in a message that reads: “There are no accounts with the provided information. Please ensure the information is correct to try again.”

Alternatively, unregistered users are urged to phone the Sanral call centre or visit their customer service centres to enquire about their overdue amounts.

Road users have complained about receiving bills via SMS and e-mail, but have yet to receive actual invoices for the bills. The issue is addressed in the statement:

“SMS and e-mail messages do not replace invoices, but are part of normal debt collection in everyday business practices.”

Howard Dembovsky, of the Justice Project SA, said Sanral was lying about unregistered users being allowed to check or pay their outstanding payments online without being forced to register.

He also said it did not make any sense that an SMS would be sent before an actual invoice.