The successful and peaceful demonstration by thousands of motorcyclists and car owners on Saturday is another indication the public are fed up with Sanral’s e-tolling debacle and are refusing to participate in the ill-conceived scheme.
“We are furthermore perturbed by statements by the Sanral CEO, Mr Nazir Alli, claiming nearly a million people have already registered for e-tags which shows the system is legitimate, and that people must respect the Law and accept e-tolls,” says John Clarke – Spokesperson for OUTA. “These comments indicate that the authorities are not seeing the warning signs of a discontented society. Such self-deception risks inviting unintended consequences”.
“Respect for the law is not something one can command from the people. We do not live in the dark ages where citizens are treated like passive subjects. This is tantamount to a primitive rule by law, rather than a progressive constitutional rule of law,” says Clarke “Sanral can try carrots and sticks to force compliance, but e-tolling cannot be sustained by manipulation of emotions. Only willing consent and acceptance by the people will make the system viable..”
OUTA again wishes to emphasise that contrary to the claims by Sanral that the legitimacy of e-tolling has been definitively settled by the courts, this is not true. The reality is that Sanral’s failure to engage the public remains to be ruled upon, under the criminal procedures act, which will happen when the first person is prosecuted for non-payment.
“We are also pleased that Sanral has now acknowledged the billing fiasco as being more than ‘teething problems’ and that these are real issues. However for Nazir Alli to blame the tools (by faulting the data base) does not say much for his workmanship as the architect of the system. He needs to show leadership by telling us not just what went wrong, but why it went wrong despite having almost three bonus years to perfect it since their planned initial launch date of April 2011” says Clarke who added “the number of complaints we are receiving continues to mount and these are clear signs of gross maladministration which has lost whatever residue of the trust Sanral may have had. We also have complaints which reflect charges for transactions prior to the start of e-tolling on 3 December. Under such circumstances, people have every right to refuse to pay until the data integrity has been satisfied.”