E-toll gantries on the N1 through Johannesburg. File photo: Jeffrey Abrahams / ANA

 Johannesburg - The South African National Roads Agency Limited is still harassing and bullying motorists with scare tactics by issuing summons against them for non-payment of e-tolls, says the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse, despite its acknowledgment that the scheme has failed.
 
“We’re getting calls from the public on a daily basis,” said Outa portfolio manager for transport Rudie Heyneke, “saying they’ve been summonsed for not paying e-tolls.
 
“That means Sanral has started issuing a new round of summonses - even though the Pretoria High Court has this week overturned a judgement Sanral obtained against an e-toll defaulter.”

Local Freight Services had applied for a rescission of the judgement, and Sanral didn’t oppose it, so the judgement was overturned.
 
“This is a gross abuse of tax-payer’s money, funding expensive legal proceedings, and a waste of time,” Heyneke said, ”when the public have to get judgements overturned, that were wrongly obtained in the first place.”
 
Senseless

He pointed out that it makes no sense for Sanral to issue new summonses when there is a court challenge pending that will address the unlawfulness and practicalities of the system.
 
Outa chief executive officer Wayne Duvenage questioned whether Sanral was serious about recovering outstanding e-tolls.

The agency has recovered a total of R3.1 billion in the first 40 months of e-tolls, to March 2017 (that’s an average of R77.5 million a month) and that hasn’t made a dent in the outstanding debt, which has grown to about R9 billion.
 
'Stop wasting the public's money'

“Sanral didn’t oppose this week’s application to rescind a week’s judgement in their favour for R721 777 - but they’re still sending out new summonses,” he said. “It’s time that they stop throwing money at this failed scheme.”
 
Outa would continue to defend motorists who are summonsed for standing their ground against e-tolls, he said. It’s handling about 170 cases against Sanral on behalf of the public and court proceedings regarding the first case are well underway, to determine the constitutionality and validity of the e-toll scheme.

IOL Motoring
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