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OUTA welcomes the recent announcements by Minster of Transport Ms Dipuo Peters, regarding time concessions for e-toll payments and the suspension of plans to prosecute motorists who have not paid their e-toll bills.
“There is never a dull day in the e-toll fiasco,” says Wayne Duvenage, Chairman of OUTA. “As far as the relaxed conditions of payment goes, whilst there appears to be ambiguity and confusion surrounding the tariff qualification, the simple reality is that easier payment conditions and qualifications for the various tariff structures does not reduce the cost of the e-toll collection process. Neither does it make the process more efficient or any more rational than it has been”.
Before the ‘reprieve’ Sanral was insisting on payment of e-toll bills within seven days of travel, without providing an invoice.
“Besides making it impossible in the absence of an invoice for any business or individual to qualify for the discounted tariff structures within seven days, we can now clearly deduce from these concessions is that the NPA have realized that the unworkable conditions would made it very onerous on the State to make criminal charges stick”, adds Duvenage. “The prosecution process would have been like trying climb a cliff in a monsoon. That explains the 51 day extension”.
OUTA consultant John Clarke believes that the authorities are realizing that the prosecution ‘stick’ was useless, so they have gone back to offereing ‘carrots’. “Sanral’s coercion tactic of parking Sanral e-toll vans at Gauteng traffic police road-blocks has now also been unmasked as a desperate effort to try and drive up levels of compliance to try and make the system viable”.
In his responding affidavit during the court review, Sanral CEO Nazir Alli assured the Court that a 93% compliance rate was achievable. The current estimate is that only 40% compliance has been achieved and societies defiance has highlighted what happens when you forget to engage with the very people you need for success.
“Mr Alli has now dug Sanral into an ever deepening hole. It is time to stop digging,” says Clarke.