All you need to know about SANRAL’s default judgements against e-Toll Defaulters
In April 2016, SANRAL started issuing summons to the motorists who had not settled their e-toll debt. Over 150 OUTA members received summonses from SANRAL and we issued a notice to defend the each case.
In November 2016 SANRAL and OUTA agreed to test the legality of the e-tolling system through a single test case as opposed to multiple cases. As of today the compilation of legal papers between both parties is in progress and the case is expected to be heard in the latter part of 2017. SANRAL recently issued a default judgement on a liquidated company and are claiming a victory in a so-called “precedent setting” judgement.
We are concerned that SANRAL recently issued a default judgement against a company who did not respond to a summons and are thereby claiming a victory in a so-called “precedent setting” judgement. This is not the case as this default judgement is not a ruling based on the merits of the e-Tolls but is merely a judgement issued by the court due to an individual not responding to a summons.
Of greater concern is SANRAL’s tactic of taking advantage of unsuspecting members of the public (who may not have received or responded to a summons) whilst a test case is underway.
What to do if you have received a default judgement from SANRAL
If you or your business have received a default judgement for not responding to an e-Toll summons, the input below provides guidance and steps to be taken. This process will require court appearances and legal representation. If you are not a contributing supporter of OUTA and therefore part of our E-toll Defence Umbrella or you have not acquired your own legal representation, we suggest you do so urgently.
A default judgement is a judgement granted without hearing the arguments of the party against whom it is granted.
In the Magistrates’ Court, a default judgement may be taken on the following grounds:
- When the defendant fails to enter an appearance at court;
- When there is a defective appearance to defend;
- When the defendant fails to deliver a plea within the prescribed time limits;
- When a party fails to appear at trial.
In the High Court, a default judgement may be taken on the following grounds:
- When the defendant fails to give notice of an intention to defend;
- When the defendant fails to deliver a plea within the prescribed time limits and after service of a notice of bar in terms of High Court Rule 26;
- When the plaintiff does not deliver a declaration or is barred from doing so in terms of High Court Rule 26;
The defendant is not without remedies in the face of a default judgement. The judgement may be rescinded if:
- The plaintiff in whose favour the default judgement was granted, agrees in writing and in proper form, that the judgement be rescinded;
- If no consent is obtained, the defendant may apply to the Magistrate’s Court for rescission of the judgement within 20 days of learning of the judgement.
- In this application for rescission, the applicant must prove that there is good cause for the court to rescind the judgment.
- The court may also rescind any judgment where it has good reason to do so.