Sanral’s controversial Gauteng e-tolling system continues to frustrate road users, with hundreds of complaints flooding in on Internet platforms such as HelloPeter and Twitter.
Many of the complaints highlight problems with the e-tolling system, including incorrect billing, being harassed for money, and poor invoicing.
“I wish Sanral would stop harassing me. Each day I get a call from them and I get an SMS threatening me with lawyers every other week,” said one user on HelloPeter.
Sanral’s use of SMSes to collect e-toll money was widely criticized. The Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) said that the SMS and e-mail demands are not legitimate demands for payment, but are in fact an attempt to short-circuit the e-road regulations.
The JPSA warned that Internet scammers will quickly catch onto the dubious practices of Sanral and TMT Services, and use SMSes and e-mails to scam users.
Other commentators also said that Sanral’s consistent SMS messages may constitute spam if they do not honour “stop” requests.
Sanral said that it is not concerned about spamming users. “The SMSes are used in the spirit of ensuring the owner is informed regarding any outstanding tolls due,” said Sanral communications GM Vusi Mona.
“Sanral has a responsibility to the unregistered road user in communicating as thoroughly as possible with them so that unnecessary extra costs are not incurred as a result of missed discount opportunities.”
Billing problems remain
Sanral’s e-toll billing problems continue to frustrate users, with many reports of incorrect billing and faulty invoices.
“I am not registered as I do not use the highway – but received a bill for a vehicle that is clearly not mine (bakkie and trailer) with the photos showing the registration numbers of both the bakkie and the trailer does not remotely match my car’s – but they keep on sending the bills anyway,” one user said.
“How can I go through the overhead e-toll on the N1 north – Lynnwood pass overhead e-toll 10 times in less than 4 minutes? I must be the fastest driver ever,” said another user on HelloPeter.
In another complaint a motorist described Sanral’s operations as “organised chaos” after the late delivery of invoices and general incompetence.
President Jacob Zuma also weighed in on the e-toll billing debate, saying that the incorrect billing was unacceptable.
“You can’t then bill people wrongly. It is a matter that needs to be fixed, and be fixed very quickly because it undermines an efficient system,” said Zuma.
Sanral said that concerns voiced by Zuma about incorrect billing for e-tolls in Gauteng are being addressed. However, the same complaints continue to flood in online.