File picture: Bongiwe Mchunu / Independent Media.
Johannesburg - Sanral's proposals to the parliamentary committee on transport this week about the various ways it intends to force motorists to pay outstanding e-toll bills are “nothing short of desperate threats” that will be extremely difficult to implement.

So said Wayne Duvenage, chief executive of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa).

He said for the national roads agency to suggest that motorists’ vehicle licences would be withheld because of e-toll debt was ludicrous and illegal.

“Should they attempt to go down this road, Outa will engage with its legal advisers and the public to challenge these developments. The impact of using coercive tactics such as blocking vehicle re-licensing or vehicle sales in order to force the payment of e-tolls, would have negative unintended consequences.

“It would drag already-cash-strapped municipalities into the e-toll fight. It would impact negatively on local government’s revenue streams and policing processes,” he said on Wednesday.

Sanral has also hinted at plans to have Sars act as its collection agent.

“This would be extremely difficult for them to do, both legally and practically, adding further complexity to Sars’s collection woes,” Duvenage said.

“We find it remarkable that Sanral even mentions the threat of dragging insurance companies into their fight, by suggesting that insurance companies should not insure vehicles with outstanding e-toll bills,” he added.

“This would be virtually impossible to introduce and Outa would challenge this legally as well as wage a consumer movement to boycott insurance companies who sought to introduce such ludicrous practices and policies into their contracts with motorists.”

When the issue of the impact of unpaid e-tolls and unlicensed vehicles on vehicle insurance claims was raised several years ago, “Outa engaged with insurance companies on this matter and confirmed that these issues do not have any negative impact or consequences on motorists’ vehicle insurance conditions”, Duvenage said.

The Mercury