Stop throwing money at failed e-toll scheme: Outa

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse‚ Outa‚ has called on the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) to stop wasting money on new summonses for outstanding e-toll bills, calling it a “failed system”.

The group said it is concerned at Sanral’s “continued harassment and bullying tactics”, through the issuing of demands and summons to motorists for non-payment of e-tolls.

Sanral said last month that scrapping e-tolls is not on the table, despite renewed calls to kill off the project for a fuel levy instead.

“Outa is currently receiving numerous calls from members of the public on a daily basis, informing the organisation of summonses being received due to the non-payment of e-tolls,” said Rudie Heyneke, portfolio manager for transport at Outa.

“This clearly indicates that Sanral have started to issue a new round of summonses, despite their acknowledgment that the e-toll scheme has failed to meet its aims and objectives of financing the freeway upgrade,” he said.

The lobby group said that earlier this week, the Pretoria High Court overturned a judgement obtained by Sanral against an e-toll defaulter.

The defendant – Local Freight Services applied for a rescission of the judgement obtained by Sanral, who did not oppose this application and subsequently, the judgement was overturned, it said.

“This is a gross abuse of tax-payers money and a waste of time, when the public have to get judgements overturned, that were wrongly obtained in the first place,” Outa said.

“These actions of Sanral are tantamount to wasteful expenditure of tax-payer’s money to fund expensive legal proceedings,” said Heyneke.

Wayne Duvenage, chief executive Officer at OUTA, questioned whether Sanral is serious in their quest to recover outstanding e-toll debts.

“Considering that Sanral did not oppose an application to rescind this week’s judgement which Sanral obtained for the amount of R721,777, their agenda in sending out new summonses is confusing.

“To date they have only recovered R3.1 billion over the first 40 months operation to March 2017 (average R77.5 million per month), and have failed to make a dent in the outstanding debt, which has now increased to around R9 billion. It is time that they Sanral stops throwing money at this failed scheme,” he said.

Outa said it is currently handling around 170 cases against Sanral on behalf of the public and court proceedings regarding the first case are well underway to determine the constitutionality and/or validity of the entire e-toll scheme.

Read: We won’t scrap e-tolls – Sanral

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Stop throwing money at failed e-toll scheme: Outa