File photo: Bongiwe Mchunu

There is no need for motorists to buy e-tags to use Gauteng's freeways, the Opposition To Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) asserted on Monday ahead of the scheduled e-tolling implementation on Tuesday December 3.

“There is no law that requires road users to buy an e-tag or register with Sanral in order to use Gauteng’s freeways,” said chairman Wayne Duvenage.

He said getting an e-tag had nothing to do with being law abiding.

“But while getting e-tagged and registering with Sanral has nothing to do with being law abiding, what it does is to make Sanral’s task of enforcing e-tolling easier.”

AN E-TAG BINDS YOU

He said road users should be aware that getting an e-tag and registering with Sanral placed road users on Sanral's system and bound them to a contract to pay e-tolls.

“Getting e-tagged also limits the right of road users to object to paying tolls and to resist an unjust system.”

Ultimately, the choice whether to get e-tagged or not is up to each individual road user.

Non-tagged road users will, according to statements by Sanral and the e-Toll regulations, have seven days grace in which to pay for driving under a gantry. After the expiry of the week-long grace period, motorists will be sent an invoice by Sanral within 32 days.

TWO WAYS TO RESIST THE SYSTEM

Non-tagged road users can do one of the following, according to Outa:

1. To pay at a higher tariff, but after putting Sanral through its paces of invoicing and sending notices for payment and making it difficult for SANRAL to enforce e-tolling;

2. To refuse to pay e-tolls at all. In this case, further notices and demands for payment will be made by Sanral over time until finally Sanral may sue for payment in court and/or prosecute the road user for non-payment of toll. This may result in the road-user(s) having to defend their action in court.

TEST THE LAW

As regards the second option, Outa asserts that every individual citizen has the right to resist the enforcement of unlawful action by Government against him or her. In this regard, the courts have not finally ruled on whether e-tolling is lawful or unlawful and the Supreme Court of Appeal judgment has made it clear that it is still open to individuals to challenge the enforcement of e-tolling on the basis that it is unlawful.

Wayne Duvenage alleged that e-tolling was unlawful because, among others, Sanral had failed to comply with the law when it was supposed to properly inform the public of the intent to toll Gauteng’s freeways at the outset.

Also, because it allegedly failed to conduct the legally required public participation procedure in October 2007 for the N1, N3, N4 and N12 and April 2008 for the R21.

Outa has unsuccessfully tried to stop the introduction of e-tolling through court action.

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters announced on November 20 that e-tolling of Gauteng's highways will begin on Tuesday.

The High Court in Pretoria is hearing a case brought by the Freedom Front Plus on the grounds that Peters made a technical error and got the start date wrong. FFPlus argued the e-tolling should have started only on December 4.

Sources: Sapa & Outa