E-toll debt: pay up, as court paves the way
|Issued by: Meropa Communications|
[Johannesburg, 20 March 2017]
"Sanral welcomes the high court judgment in Pretoria for the non-payment of e-tolls. The agency has a duty in terms of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and Treasury Regulations, to collect all monies due to it. It's an obligation we take seriously," says Vusi Mona, communications manager of the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral).
The judgment, says Mona, sets a precedent in that motorists and companies who do not pay their e-toll debt can be taken to court. It also means that the proof of the default submitted by Sanral was accepted by the court.
"We are confident that the default judgment in our favour will be persuasive for other courts when deciding subsequent cases. In a rules-based society where courts are the final arbiters, the judgment moves us forward on this matter," says Mona.
He pointed out that there are misconceptions about e-tolls that they are prohibitively expensive. "The truth is 78% of registered light motor vehicles in Gauteng pay less than R100 a month to travel on the e-tolled highways and of these 44% have regular e-toll bills below R25. This is the modest contribution we are asking road users to make in order to pay for and maintain these high-order roads."
There simply aren't sufficient funds available in the annual national budget to pay for these. There are urgent and competing demands on the budget, such as improved health care, education and social security payments.
This makes it necessary and unavoidable to selectively use tolling as a funding mechanism.
Mona encouraged motorists and companies to pay their debts as this will contribute to future road upgrades. Not only is it the right thing to do but there will be consequences if they do not – as the high court judgment has underlined.
The court had ordered an Alberton-based building supply company to pay its outstanding debt of some R450 000.
"The Gauteng highway network accommodates 1.49 million vehicles or 1.7 million people per day. It is important to note that 1.3 million vehicles have an e-tag account in good standing", says Mona. Just more than 1.4 million vehicles are tagged.
There are about 2.9 million accounts with arrears balances, but of these 1.2 million owe less than R500 each.
"We encourage vehicle owners to register for e-tags and to settle their bills regularly through the many payment options that are available. And we are thankful to the road users who are paying," says Mona.