E-toll legal action targets minority of non-payers
The SA National Road Agency Limited (Sanral) has, in three years, served summonses to only 15505 of the millions of motorists in Gauteng who don’t pay e-tolls.
This was revealed in a parliamentary reply by Transport Minister Blade Nzimande, who said of these, 24% of the summonses were actually served from April 2015 to August 2018.
Of the summonses served, 1320 are being defended. Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse’s (Outa) lawyers are defending 1 028 of those cases.
“The e-tolls collection contract has just two months left and lawyers are increasing the number of summonses issued, which ups their fees, but not collections. “The minister’s reply indicates that R10.2 million was collected from January 2016 to August 2018, while Electronic Toll Collections spent R4.6m on legal fees to collect this. Compare this to the outstanding e-toll debt of about R11 billion,” said Outa transport portfolio manager Rudie Heyneke. He said the statistics provided by Nzimande show last-minute attempts to increase the number of summonses.
Heyneke said in July and August 2018, a total of 4 055 summonses were drafted, which was 67% of the summonses since January 2018 and 26% of all summonses since April 2015.
“However, most of these summonses are not actually served on the defendants. In July and August, only 345 summonses were actually served on defaulters,” Heyneke said.
“ETC’s five-year collection contract started on December 3, 2013, and is due to expire by December 2018. ETC’s contract has about two months to run, after which there will be no collection agency,” said Heyneke.
Nzimande said service of summonses failed as “addresses (were) insufficient, debtors were unknown at given addresses, debtors left the addresses or the premises (were) locked.
“These reasons point to an ineffective eNaTIS vehicle registration system and illustrate why effective legal action against defaulters is likely to fail,” Heyneke said.