The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) calls on SANRAL to admit or deny whether it has agreed to a test case process.
“We agree with the AA that the conflicting claims by OUTA and SANRAL have created confusion for Gauteng motorists. The fact that civil claims will be stayed only against OUTA’s members during this test case process and not against all e-toll defaulters, adds to the confusion,” says Wayne Duvenage, chairman of OUTA.
OUTA once again states categorically that SANRAL (through their lawyers at Werksmans) has agreed to a test case process with OUTA. OUTA is defending 152 of its members who received summonses for non-payment of e-tolls. The agreement governs how the claims against these 152 members, and any future e-toll defaulters who seek OUTA’s assistance, will be dealt with.
Duvenage says his organisation wants to make it clear to the AA and others who may be confused that this claim by OUTA is not made lightly. “We are serious when we claim we have an agreement with SANRAL. The fact that SANRAL has denied this is not our doing – it is SANRAL’s and therefore it is SANRAL who is causing the confusion. All OUTA can do is call on SANRAL – as Justice Project SA (JPSA) has done – to answer this one question: ‘Has SANRAL, or has it not, agreed to a test case process with OUTA?’ It’s that simple.”
OUTA also wishes to clarify that it never sought a situation of exclusivity for only its members. On the contrary, OUTA requested that SANRAL agree to also stay civil proceedings against the public at large. But SANRAL refused.
“We have been fighting the e-tolls fiasco with SANRAL for a number of years on behalf of the public. SANRAL has threatened the public on an ongoing basis, and motorists have turned to OUTA for both guidance and support on defending them in this ongoing debacle. It was for this reason that OUTA launched its defence umbrella: to go to court and handle the legal process on behalf of its contributing supporters. It’s a case of crowdfunding and mass defense action against a state organization that has continuously threatened and intimidated the public.”
Duvenage says OUTA is fully aware that not everyone wants to join this initiative. “In fact, not everyone even knows about OUTA. But for the tens of thousands who do and have joined us, we provide hope, support and expertise to fight this matter on their behalf, and for that they have expressed gratitude.” Duvenage confirms that OUTA also acts in the public interest, and hopes that the general public will benefit from OUTA’s initiative.
OUTA continues to believe that ALL summonses against the general public should be put on hold, i.e. stayed until the test case process has followed its legal course. “SANRAL has, for reasons of its own, remained stubborn in its refusal in this regard. We believe that SANRAL’s refusal is a waste of public money and of scarce judicial resources. Not only will SANRAL have a very difficult time trying to litigate against thousands of motorists while a test case process is underway with a specific civil action organization, but its approach is likely to be frowned upon by the Deputy Judge President and by the overstretched courts.”
Duvenage says: “SANRAL’s legal team will soon deliver an amended claim to OUTA’s legal team. If OUTA finds no further legal defects in SANRAL’s claim, OUTA’s legal team will prepare and deliver a plea setting out the defences against SANRAL’s claim. This is in accordance with the agreed test case process being followed. The stay of proceedings against members of the public represented now and in future by OUTA’s legal team is part of this same agreement between OUTA and SANRAL regarding the test case process.”