King of de Jungle
- Mar 17, 2005
A group of businesses opposed to the controversial Gauteng e-tolls have claimed in court that it would be “practically impossible” to administer the collection of unpaid tolls either through criminal or civil courts.
The Opposition To Urban Tolling Alliance is arguing in court papers lodged last week, that one million transactions a day corresponding to 400 000 users will not be automated but subject to manual processing.
“This means that 840 000 invoices would have to be sent by mail to road users per month. The postal system would simply be flooded,” said OUTA. “We are advised that it would be practically impossible for the SA National Roads Agency to effect the service of 1000 summonses per day let alone a figure higher than that.”
According to Electronic Tolling Company CEO Salahdin Yacoubi, the company was aiming to recruit two million drivers to buy e-tags so that eventually 60 percent of transactions would be by transponder, leaving 40 percent to be camera-based.
ONLY 200 000 E-TAGS SOLD SO FAR
To date, Sanral has reported that only about 200 000 Gauteng drivers have purchased e-tags.
ETC is part of a consortium that won the R20 billion tender to operate the Gauteng e-toll on behalf of Sanral.
in 2011 Yacoubi said the company would need to collect approximately R10 to R10.5 million per day from Gauteng’s road users to enable Sanral to service its debt.
“To ensure road users are financially compliant, our strategy is to ensure the efficient processing of toll road transactions, especially of defaulters, implementing cost effective debt collection processes and cycles, and providing successfuland visible prosecution of offenders,” Yacoubi said.
“Non payment of tolls will be considered a traffic offence under the law. Road users won’t be able to renew their driving licences and vehicle licences as long as they have unpaid toll fees outstanding.”
INSURMOUNTABLE LOGISTICAL PROBLEMS
The article is being used by OUTA in its attempt to justify to the court why it should grant it a relief to interdict the implementation of the e-tolls by April 30.
OUTA asked in the court papers how what appear to be insurmountable logistical problems of enforcement and of cloned number plates will be dealt with.
Yacoubi estimated that 1.5-2 million of the approximately 3.5 million vehicles registered in Gauteng, would be considered frequent users who use freeways at least once a week.
According to the live vehicle population as per the National Traffic Information Systen, there were more than 3.9 million vehicles registered in Gauteng by January 2012.
“The numbers that emanate from Sanral’s contractor ETC clearly illustrate that the enforcement of open road tolling in the case of the proposed toll road network is practically impossible,” argued OUTA. “To make matters worse, the e-tolling system also has material deficiencies that will exacerbate the problem of enforcement and cause severe prejudice to members of the public.”
OUTA cited the system’s inability to charge road users who were not the owners of the vehicles they drive and failure to deal with cases of cloned vehicle licence plates as key to severe prejudices to motorists.
The Alliance submitted to the court that e-tolling was not considered properly and it was so unreasonable an option that no reasonable administrator could have chosen to adopt it.
Meanwhile Pieter Conradie, an attorney representing OUTA members, welcomed transport minister Sbu Ndebele’s suggestion of a discussion with the parties of the e-tolling but said nothing formal had been received by his clients.
Ndebele expressed openness to talking and finding the best funding solution for the country's roads in an interview with Business Report this week.
Attempts to get comment from Sanral or ETC this week went unanswered. - Saturday Star