e-Tolls Media Release

Public comment required on e-Tolls gazette (#39130)

The “Exemption and Rebate regulations in respect in payment of tolls, 2015” is currently open for public comment until the 27th September 2015.

SANRAL are seeking to introduce a number of changes to the e–toll regulations, some of which are sincerely concerning and beg a response or rejection by the public. Should a sizable volume of public submissions take place, it becomes difficult for Government to simply forge ahead with their proposed changes.

There are a number of issues in the Gazette that should be commented on, but we know that many people are often too busy to read these Gazettes. Therefore, we have listed a few Major Issues below which we believe the public should raise comments / objections to. We have also included a link at the bottom of this document, which will open up an e-mail, which has been auto-populated with these comments and pre-addressed for sending to Government.

MAJOR ISSUE #1:
Proposed changes in regulation regarding invoicing

Page 35 of Gazette # 39130: Proposed Regulation 5(9):
“Any user of an e-road who, through such use, becomes liable to pay toll may request an invoice from the Agency at any e-toll customer centre alternatively may obtain an invoice on the website, failing which the Agency shall not be obliged to provide invoices to any user, save as provided for elsewhere in these regulations.”

What does this mean?
This means that SANRAL aims to no longer be required to send you any invoices before you become liable for e-toll payments, but that the onus will now be on you to go to their website or to their customer service centres to see if you have any outstanding invoices yourself. This applies even if you live out of town and don’t have reliable internet access. This could mean that the first correspondences you DO receive from SANRAL will be a criminal summons for non-payment.

What is a reasonable comment?
In hierarchy of South African law, The Consumer Protection Act is superior legislation to the E-road regulations proposed by SANRAL, and the Consumer Protection Act prescribes that the supplier is always responsible for sending an invoice to the consumer. Thus this proposed requirement severely infringes on our established rights, and it is plausible that these proposed provisions of the regulation are both unfair and unlawful.

MAJOR ISSUE # 2
The fact that SANRAL is still continuing with this irrational scheme for which proper consultation was never conducted

What does this mean?
The public were never properly and meaningfully consulted on the of the e-toll scheme, and as a result, they were unable to have any say or impact on the plans and processes implemented.

How you should comment
I believe the e-toll declaration was taken unlawfully, for a number of reasons, but largely because SANRAL failed to engage in a meaningful public consultation process, as was constitutionally required of them. The ongoing controversy, the continuous changes to the regulatory environment and the public protest against e-tolls, is a clear indication that SANRAL have tried to introduce a scheme with is flawed on many fronts, but also, they have ignored the values and principles of the constitution.

I would also like to object to the high costs of the freeway improvement project. Aside from the known collusive construction cartel tender practices, the project’s price-tag has been described a grossly overcharged under SANRAL’s watch. And yet, to date, there has been no clarity or display of an acute desire by SANRAL to recover what amounts to an odious debt from those collusive practices.

MAJOR ISSUE #3
Sub-regulation (2)(b) states that “the e-tag issued by the Agency for each such vehicle must, in order for the vehicle to be exempt from the payment of toll, be affixed to the relevant vehicle or vehicles of the user, as applicable, when using an e-road. This requirement shall however not apply to exempt public transport vehicles, prior to such vehicles having been registered with the Agency.

What does this mean?
That all other entities that require exemption (such as medical emergency vehicles and adapted cars for people with disabilities), yet public transport vehicles – including Minibus Taxis, do not have to be tagged. This leaves the entire abuse and unworkability of the scheme to become event further challenged.

How you should comment
The discrimination between some exempt categories on the need to install e-tags, and others, is unfair. Furthermore, for control purposes and reduced fraudulent behavior linked to license plate cloning, I believe all exempt vehicles should be registered with an e-tag. Since e-tolls was introduced, virtually no taxis – who are supposed to be exempt- have not fitted e-tags in order to qualify for their exempt status. The fact that Government is now allowing them to qualify for exempt status, without e-tags, speaks volumes as to the inability of SANRAL to manage the process with the necessary controls required.

CLICK HERE if you would like to open an e-mail link with these three responses automatically populated as your response to Government.

email