OUTA plans to defend motorists’ e-toll debt as government goes back on its word

Confused reasoning behind latest announcement that outstanding e-toll debt – much of which has prescribed – is still to be collected, especially since government indicated an end to e-tolls in 2022

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26/02/2024 12:46:12

Image: OUTAl

 OUTA plans to defend motorists’ e-toll debt as government goes back on its word

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse reiterates that it will continue with its plan to defend motorists who receive a summons from SANRAL for outstanding e-toll debt. This follows comments by Mampho Modise, deputy director-general of public finance at National Treasury, in an interview published in Moneyweb on 26 February 2024.

Modise told Moneyweb that “Gauteng has agreed that that debt should and will be collected”.

OUTA questions Modise’s statement, calling it confusing since e-toll debt by motorists is collected by SANRAL and not the Gauteng provincial government. “What makes the threat of going after those with outstanding e-toll debts even more confusing is that SANRAL stopped issuing summonses against e-toll defaulters in 2019, and most of this debt has now prescribed,” says Wayne Duvenage, OUTA’s CEO.

In October 2022, the Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana, announced the end of e-tolls. In January 2023 Gauteng’s Premier, Panyaza Lesufi, announced that R6.9 billion will be refunded to those who had paid e-tolls, a matter on which he has since backtracked. During last week’s State of the Province Address, Lesufi announced that e-tolls will be switched off by 31 March. He also said the Gauteng provincial government has agreed to pay R12 billion towards SANRAL’s e-toll debt to finalise the matter.

“We are left more confused than ever by the latest announcement by Modise. Who should we believe, especially since it’s election year with different politicians making so many different promises?” says Duvenage.

He accused government of being indecisive and incapable of implementing its own policies. “Between SANRAL, Premier Lesufi, Minister Godongwana and the Department of Transport, it seems that nobody knows what is really going on when it comes to finalising the e-toll debacle.”

OUTA says it seems those in government who are intent on dragging out the e-toll matter have forgotten the test court case between SANRAL and OUTA supporters for summonses issued for outstanding e-toll debt, which remains in limbo.

Since February 2019, OUTA lawyers have been defending 2 028 cases on behalf of e-toll defaulters who received summonses from SANRAL, with a total value of R262.590m. Of these, 1 929 cases with a total value of R112.276m were brought in magistrates’ courts, with 99 cases in the high court valued at R150.315m. An aspect of this case is challenging the constitutionality (therefore the lawfulness and enforceability) of the e-toll scheme. In March 2019, SANRAL’s board passed a resolution to stop e-toll summonses and in the meantime, all these cases have been “placed on hold”, leaving the legal matter in limbo.

Duvenage again confirmed that OUTA will defend every motorist who receives a summons from SANRAL for outstanding e-toll debt, provided they give OUTA the mandate to do so and that OUTA has the funds to do so.

“We will not merely accept government’s irrational plan to collect debt on their inefficient, costly and largely unworkable system, especially since they themselves announced that e-tolls will be cancelled,” Duvenage says.



The e-toll scheme was switched on on 3 December 2013, but has been a matter of discontent for OUTA and thousands of Gauteng motorists who have been opposing it since the first e-toll gantries appeared in September 2010.

Amongst OUTA’s main reasons for opposing the scheme is the lack of public engagement and its excessive costs of administration. Many Gauteng motorists were made to believe the improvements to Gauteng freeways were budgeted for under the infrastructure improvement costs related to hosting the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup.

Furthermore, OUTA believes the freeway construction improvements were supposed to cost between R6 billion and R7 billion, yet ended up costing the taxpayers R17.9 billion, due largely to gross maladministration and corruption. “SANRAL and government have their own lack of transparency and poor public engagement to blame for the lack of support for e-tolls,” Duvenage says.

More information

A soundclip with comment by OUTA CEO Wayne Duvenage is here.
See more reasons for OUTA’s e-toll stance here and more on OUTA’s campaign against e-tolls here.

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