While I’m still seeing articles protesting e-tolling and making the same sorts of arguments as those made two years ago, I think it’s time to introduce some new fuel for this debate.
With the president having signed the legislation for e-Tolling and OUTA’s case finally dismissed (with their decision to not appeal again), you don’t have to be a genius to figure that e-Tolling’s introduction is just around the corner.
Unlike some of the commentators here, however, SANRAL hasn’t been sitting on their hands. They actually have a pretty slick website (for a Government organisation), with most of the ‘secret’ bits now open for public viewing (with only a couple of links still de-activated).
For advocates of bringing down the system by not buying an e-Tag and not receiving a printed statement with the post office buckling under the strain, it looks as if SANRAL is going to be a bit more proactive than that.
Here’s what the website reveals, in direct quotes:
“e-toll Transactions that are not paid within the seven day grace period are handed over to the debt collection section, the owner of the vehicle is identified and a Violations Processing Centre (VPC) account is opened for the owner.” [Note: there will then be TWO accounts for your vehicle]
“In terms of the various legislations, road users of the Gauteng e-roads are legally obligated to pay toll. The non-payment of toll is a criminal offence.”
“The debt collection process will follow traditional debt collection processes, whereby historical information will be used in order to ensure that the correct contact and vehicle owner details are used, for the official legal notices.”
“On-road Enforcement has been established. Vehicles have been equipped with Number Plate Recognition technology and is connected [SIC] to the Central Operations Centre from where vehicle movement between toll gantries is monitored. These vehicles, will be manned with traffic officers, which will be located at strategic locations and roam the Gauteng e-roads, in order to enforce all traffic infringements and warrants.”
Well well, isn’t that just interesting? If you don’t pay the amount owing within seven days (i.e. posted statements were never going to be viable), you’re liable to be stopped on the highways by this ‘roaming’ enforcement squad, or handed over to debt collectors (who will trace you through your credit history information presumably, not your outdated e-Natis details).
Where it gets better, however, is the puzzling conditions for a day-pass for Gauteng (which can be purchased at a cost of around R50/day). These are the key terms:
* You may purchase a Day Pass up to 30 days before using the Gauteng e-roads.
* A Day Pass is valid for 24-hours after activation.
* A Day Pass is activated upon your first gantry passage after purchase.
* A Day Pass may only be purchase 12 times per year for a vehicle.
* Cannot be activated retrospectively (i.e. it cannot be used to pay for toll transactions prior to the purchase of the Day Pass).
This will no doubt create serious headaches for the proverbial old couple tootling into Gauteng to visit their kids in the Big City, who will only buy a Day Pass when they finally arrive at their kids and ask them what all those new-fangled lights and billboards mean.
Based on the above conditions from SANRAL, the day pass they buy will only be effective for driving AFTER the purchase, and will not be retrospectively applied to the driving they’ve already done. So they’re going to have an out-standing debt to settle some other way.
Only being able to purchase a day pass 12 times in a year is no doubt also going to cause all sorts of headaches for business visitors to Gauteng – good luck sorting that out!
You can view the SANRAL site and read more for yourself here: http://www.sanral.co.za/e-toll/
Let’s stop acting like e-Tolling’s not coming, or that anybody is still listening to our witty comments on News24 articles. Study the above and figure out how to cope with it: forewarned is forearmed!
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