Following a month of SANRAL’s dispensation, which offers discount on outstanding e-toll debt, the uptake has been dismal and all indications are that this carrot will not be the saving grace for the ill-fated e-Toll scheme. “The announcement by SANRAL that they will now try to pursue fleet based companies who have the highest outstanding bills, to try and save the e-toll scheme, comes as no surprise,” says OUTA chairperson Wayne Duvenage.
OUTA’s message to all fleet based companies is that there is no need to fear the approach by ETC or SANRAL’s collection agents, as the e-Toll scheme has been introduced unlawfully. OUTA has numerous business members with significant outstanding e-toll bills, who have put their faith in OUTA’s e-Toll Defense Umbrella to ensure that should their directors be summonsed to appear in a criminal court, or their companies be sued for the outstanding amounts, that OUTA will provide an extensive collateral defence to protect them.
Furthermore, we believe that outstanding e-toll bills are related to an unjust and irrational law, which makes it unnecessary for business to worry or disclose this amount as a debt to shareholders. IN OUTA’s opinion, E-Toll bills are not a debt.
One has to ask why, after two years of operation and over R6 billion outstanding bills (after SANRAL’s discounts have been applied), no-one to date has been issued a summons for non-payment of e-tolls. We believe this is because they have no case and without a legal channel of enforcement, their strategy is limited to carrots and intimidating messages to coerce the public into submission.
“We have been preparing for this for years. This time around the technical defence that got SANRAL off the hook in 2013 is no longer applicable. The real merits of the case are going to have to be heard and we maintain the entire scheme is unlawful and irrational.” says Duvenage. “In addition, virtually all the issues we warned SANRAL about, regarding the weaknesses, irrationality and unworkability of the scheme, has materialised. The Western Cape toll challenge has also strengthened OUTA’s case in Gauteng.”
We applaud those companies who have exercised civil courage to stand strong and defy the e-toll farce, they are part of the 91% of Gauteng’s freeway users having refused to pay their e-toll bills. This sends a loud and clear message to Government; “Irrational and unjust taxation, along with wasteful expenditure of hard earned public funds will not be tolerated by the public and OUTA commits to defend the fleet companies and all individuals within its member base from prosecution, regardless of the size of their outstanding e-toll bills,” Duvenage added. Should fleet company managers wish to engage with OUTA’s directors to understand this issue and the defensive strategy, they are free to contact us on OUTA’s web site.