Gantries legal and e-toll debt genuine



Still time for e-toll defaulters to settle debts

SANRAL has noted, again, the misleading assertions that e-toll gantries are faulty or not certified.

“The National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) – the independent body mandated to handle all technical regulations and compulsory specifications relating to public health and safety – has as recently as this past January confirmed that there currently are no technical regulations to determine compliance or non-compliance of the measuring instruments (gantries) used to classify motor vehicles passing under the gantries. Therefore, our gantries are legal and any amount owing calculated on the back of it, is enforceable,” Vusi Mona, the Head of Communications at the South African National Roads Agency (SOC) Ltd said.

There is no criminal prosecution taken against SANRAL. It follows therefore that as there are no technical regulations against which there must be compliance, there can be no question of non-compliance on the part of SANRAL.

SANRAL confirms to all road users that the equipment used to determine the vehicle classification (motorcycle, light, medium heavy or heavy vehicles) achieves greater than 99% accuracy due to various auditing and quality control measures. In addition a photograph of the vehicle is available that can be used to clarify the actual vehicle classification in the event of a dispute.

It is therefore irresponsible of the FF+ to make statements to the public that the system is illegal and that the payment of toll is not required.  The system is legal. Non-payment of toll may result in sanctions against road users.

The door remains open for e-toll debtors who have received summonses for non-payment to settle their debts – and even benefit from the discounts offered by SANRAL.

Serial defaulters should, however, not underestimate the Agency’s resolve to recover the outstanding amounts and ensure road users comply with the legislation pertaining to e-tolling in Gauteng, said Mona.

 “We know there are many road users who have been misled by those who tried to convince them there would be no consequences for their actions..

“There are organisations that have persistently told people they are welcome to break the law. Now, many companies and individuals realise that they have been led up the garden path. The sheriffs are knocking on the doors of people who refuse to pay and continued ignoring of the summons will have consequences.”

 Mona says the intention is not to punish motorists, but to apply the user pay principle that has been accepted as best practice by the Government and the National Development Plan, and embodied in the legislation that provides for e-tolling on the Gauteng freeway network.

“Even at this late stage we still encourage people who have a historic debt to settle by taking advantage of the 60 percent discount and clearing their account backlog. The debt amount may be high – but it could have been prevented if people settled it on a monthly basis as thousands of other law-abiding road users have done over the past two years.”

The issuing of summonses is a civil debt collection, and not a criminal process. E-toll debt is similar to other debt incurred by consumers such as on clothing or vehicle payment accounts. Once the summons has been served the respondent has the choice to pay the outstanding amount, to defend the summons, or to ignore it. In such cases the processes will continue without the respondents.

The size of the outstanding debt will determine whether the process will be managed in the Magistrates or High Court system. The standard process for courts to collect debt is to issue a garnishee order to a salary or attach property. Although this is not a criminal process defaulters should know that this might affect their future credit rating.

Mona says SANRAL will continue to use all available legal avenues to collect outstanding debt. “We appeal to vehicle owners not to doubt our resolve or be misled by questionable advice from people and organisations who have no understanding of the system or the law,” he says.

Those wanting to check if they qualify for the 60% discount are invited to call 087 353 1490 or visit the website.