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E-tolls payment deadline extended

By Staff Writer
By Hennie Pretorius, journalist, Justmoney
 
Earlier this month transport minister, Dipuo Peters, extended the seven day payment option to 51 days. Discounts are also offered to those who have driven through e-tolls.
 
Non-registered users pay inflated rates compared to registered users and as an incentive to settle their bill will be given 60% off if they pay within 51 days. Registered users will receive a 48% e-tag holder discount. ‘Time-of-day’ discounts are on offer, as well as ‘frequent user’ discounts. Furthermore, A2 light motor vehicles are offered a R450 monthly cap.
 
To date there are over one million non-paying e-toll users. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson, Nathi Mncube, had confirmed that two prosecutors have been assigned to assist South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) in bringing non-paying e-toll users to justice, if found guilty, offenders are liable to a fine or jail time.
 
 
But getting motorists to pay will still be an uphill battle for the government. More recently Tiyani Rikhotso, spokesperson for Peters, announced prosecution of non-paying e-toll users is to be “halted." One of the reasons mentioned is inaccurate billing. Rikhotso suggested improvements to the system should be made before taking any action against e-toll users.
 
Since e-tolls were introduced in Gauteng (3 December 2013) South African National Roads Agency Limited Sanral, has struggled to convince road users to pay their e-toll accounts.
 
Socioeconomic effect investigated
Gauteng Premier David Makhura has appointed an advisory panel to assess the situation, focusing on the socioeconomic effect of e-tolls.
 
As mentioned in a press release by Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) both the NPA and Sanral are “making a mockery of the process” as they are not willing to wait for Makhura’s report regarding socioeconomic effects before taking legal steps against non-compliant e-toll road users.
 
The JPSA is in support of the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) who have initiated a “Rule of Law” campaign in an attempt to establish a ‘solid’ defence for those summoned by the NPA for not paying their e-toll fees.
 
JPSA believes a “properly thought out and mounted defence will lead to the acquittal of those accused.”
 
Financial and legal implications
As no ruling has yet been made regarding e-tolls, legal experts are reluctant to comment on a way forward or the implications of been found guilty.
 
It was pointed out though that currently there is no law forcing e-toll users to pay, and courts are concerned about the complexity of attempting to prosecute over a million people who are currently refusing to pay.
 
What can you do if you got a summons?
JPSA supports OUTA’s “Rule of Law” campaign, where OUTA has built a 'strong' defence opposing Sanral, and advises anyone who receives a summons from the NPA to contact OUTA for assistance.

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