Dodging e-tolls with fake plates

2014-02-12 00:00

SUNNINGDALE resident Barbara van Staden received the shock of her life recently when she opened her post to discover an invoice from SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral’s) e-toll system, billing her for an amount of around R350.

“I haven’t driven my car to or around Gauteng ever. And I have definitely never registered for e-toll, ” an irate Van Staden said. What was more alarming, she said, was that the invoice had details regarding her licence plate and identity number.

When the second invoice arrived it was accompanied by photographs of the vehicle travelling under the e-toll gantry. Although the licence plate was identical to hers, the car was not.

Even though she knew she was innocent, the photos at least confirmed that “someone else is driving around using a cloned version of my numberplate”. Phone calls to Sanral were unanswered and e-mails sent received no response.

Van Staden then phoned the Durban North police station, and even the Fraud and Anti-Corruption number, to no avail.

She then went to the vehicle licensing department where “the lady behind the counter suggested I cancel my present numberplate and go through the expense of applying for a new one”.

Van Staden then approached the satellite SAPS station in Umhlanga Rocks where a staff member suggested that she complete and submit an affidavit.

She has now done so.

Van Staden said the warrant officer who assisted her mentioned that they had received a number of similar complaints in recent weeks. “There is absolutely nothing stopping anyone wanting to evade the e-toll gantries [or even speed cameras] from going and getting cloned numberplates using any registration number out there. It’s a disgrace. So who will be liable at the end of the day for all the losses? The taxpayer?”

Vusi Mona, spokesperson for SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral), advised road users who receive invoices that suggest their vehicles had been cloned, to contact 0800 726 725.

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