E-tolling can be stopped, say experts

The South African Vehicle Renting and Leasing Association (SAVRALA) has said that e-tolling can be stopped, and that they are likely to launch court action against the e-toll system.

The possible legal action from SAVRALA comes after government said that e-tolling is a done deal and that motorists should get registered for the system by the end of April 2012.

With effect from April 30 motorcycles with e-tags will pay 0.20 cents a kilometre and those without e-tags will pay 0.38 cents. Light motor vehicles will pay 0.30 cents and 0.58 cents respectively, and non-articulated trucks 0.75 cents and R1.45.

The controversial e-tolling plan made headlines with numerous complaints from the public and industry experts. E-tolling even resulted in a nationwide protest against the system by the trade union Cosatu.

Despite opposition to the e-tolling system, government is adamant that e-tolling cannot be stopped and will start on 30 April as planned.

South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) Chief Executive Officer Nazir Alli said so far more than 320,000 Gauteng motorists have registered for e-tolling.

Even president Jacob Zuma jumped in and quashed any hopes that the planned Gauteng e-tolling system will dropped by government.

“The Gauteng economy cannot afford any impediment to the traffic flow, since such an impediment will stifle economic growth that leads to job creation,” Zuma told The New Age and SABC business briefing in Port Elizabeth.

SAVRALA chairman Paul Pauwen is not rolling over and said that they may fight e-tolling in court. “SAVRALA is consulting with its legal team and it appears that we could have a strong case,” said Pauwen.

Paewen explained that e-tolling can be stopped by either government or a court saying that it should not go ahead, and that they hope to launch a successful legal challenge to e-tolling soon.

“With the support of a number of associations and the public (the more the better, hence our request to register), and subject to a green light from the legal team, we would be launching an application in the courts in the not too distant future.”

Wayne Duvenhage
Wayne Duvenhage

Wayne Duvenage, Chief Executive of Avis Rent a Car, agrees with Pauwen, saying that a well planned and structured legal challenge will stop e-tolling. “This is already at an advanced stage of development, please watch the OUTA web site for developments in this regard,” said Duvenage.

“Further more, we believe this process, if for an outside chance is not stopped through legal steps and is forced on the citizens of SA, there will be significant resistance to use the tags. The less the use of tags for billing purposes, the greater the chance of e-tolls being an administrative failure. It will simply collapse on itself within a year,” Duvenage added.

SAVRALA forms part of an alliance called OUTA (Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance) which was launched to oppose e-tolling in South Africa. Pauwen encouraged organizations and individuals to join the initiative to fight against the implementation of e-tolling in April.

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E-tolling can be stopped, say experts