E-toll harassment evidence surfaces

[Update] BusinessTech readers have pointed out that the officers’ uniforms in the images below indicate that the officials pictured are from the Gauteng Traffic Police, and not the JMPD as stated by the DA.

[Original article] The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called for an investigation into claims of e-toll harassment by the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD).

The DA pointed to photos taken by motorists, showing Sanral’s e-toll branded vehicles at roadblocks set up by Metro Police on Tuesday (7 July).

It also follows recent reports of  “prolific, daily roadblocks” that have been set up by the Gauteng Department of Community Safety – in conjunction with Sanral, to question motorists on whether or not they have signed up to the e-toll system.

It also comes at a time when questions will likely be raised about the viability of the project as government is set to appoint a panel to review the e-toll system in its current format.

Sanral has long since denied reports that it, in conjunction with the JMPD, are stopping motorists to check whether they are e-tagged.

“I will write to the Head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), Robert McBride, to request an urgent investigation,” said Manny de Freitas MP, DA shadow minister of transport in a statement.

“It is reported that yesterday, Sanral branding and vehicles where utilised at a roadblock conducted by members of the JMPD on the Olifantsfontein off-ramp in Gauteng.”

“The use of Sanral branding, vehicles and equipment at Gauteng roadblocks can only be viewed as a means to intimidate motorists to buy e-tags, without any legal basis to do so.”

“The creation of an impression to the contrary is deliberately misleading,” de Freitas said.

The MP highlighted the following photographs as evidence:

User-submitted image of JMPD roadblock
User-submitted image of JMPD roadblock
User-submitted image of JMPD roadblock
User-submitted image of JMPD roadblock

According to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate Act, which aims to ensure independent oversight of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and Municipal Police Services, IPID must, as per section 28(1)(g), investigate abuses by the police amounting to corrupt activities when reported by a member of the public.

The DA said that the conduct exhibited by members of the JMPD not only falls outside of their mandate but also fraudulently uses state resources “to bully South African motorists”.

The political party said that it would also submit parliamentary questions requesting the details of how many Sanral vehicles have been deployed to assist the JMPD, on what occasions, and at what expense to the taxpayer.

“The DA opposes the abuse of policing services  – which should be spending their time upholding the law and keeping South Africans safe,” it said.

The party wants to draft a Private Members Bill to Parliament which would include a referendum wherein South Africans can vote on the implementation of e-tolls.

Mmusi Maimane, Parliamentary Leader for the DA, said on Monday (7 July) that he will be moving for the Transport Portfolio Committee to push for a full review of the e-toll scheme, within the next few days.

More on e-tolls

What you need to know about e-toll roadblocks

Motorists warned to pay for e-tolls despite hiccups

Gauteng Premier welcomes new proposals on e-tolls

E-tolls should be put to a national vote: DA

DA hatches new e-toll plan of attack

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E-toll harassment evidence surfaces