E-toll defaulters’ bills exceed R1 billion

One of the e-toll Customer Service Centres on William Nicol Drive in Joburg.

This damning figure emerged in Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters’ parliamentary reply to questions on e-tolling submitted by the DA’s Shadow Minister of Transport, Manny de Freitas.

In her response, Peters said the unaudited amount owed by non-registered users for under 90 days amounted to R995 362 885 as of 31 May, while overdue payments of more than three months amounted to R156 623 567.

“Considering the system only came online in early December 2013, the level of overdue payments acts as yet another indicator that motorists on South Africa’s roads continue to reject the system,” De Freitas said.

In March, Peters revealed that half a billion rand in unpaid e-toll fees was owed to the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) for the period from 3 December 2013 to 1 March 2014.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura had since established a review panel to assess the socio-economic impact of e-tolling in the province.

Further, in the wake of the roads agency’s consultation with the National Prosecuting Authority regarding e-toll defaulters, Peters had halted any plans to prosecute motorists who had failed to pay e-tolls for the moment.

The system, which went live on 3 December 2013 and has been plagued by controversy, has been met with fierce opposition.

In the latest of several anti-e-toll campaigns, the Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) encouraged motorists to continue to defy the system by using e-tolled freeways and refusing to pay their bills.

The federation further called on those who received e-toll bills to burn them, and the defiance campaign was supported by the National Taxi Alliance.

The alliance’s spokesperson Theo Malele said it strongly supported the move because Gauteng taxi operators had been smacked with e-toll invoices despite being told that they would be exempt from the system.

He said within 10 days of the system going live, he was contacted by the roads agency requesting payment for his unpaid e-toll bills, which exceeded R10 000.

However, he said the amounts vary with some taxi operators have bills for R6 000 while others have larger bills.

“Sanral has always said that taxi operators were exempt from e-tolling, then why do taxi operators still get invoices?” he asked.

Meanwhile, the road agency has acknowledged the federation and other association’s right to protest against e-tolling, as long as it was done lawfully.

However, roads agency spokesperson Vusi Mona advised members of the taxi alliance to register any new taxis that had been issued with operating licenses and had yet to receive an exemption.

  AUTHOR
SIMONE SAMUELS

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