E-tolls: Legal glitch halts withholding of licence discs

Cape Town – A glitch in a law that would halt the issuing of vehicle licence discs to drivers with unpaid e-toll bills means non-compliant Gauteng road users won’t have anything to fear – for now.

The Department of Transport’s Gazette 38997, released on 17 July 2015, referenced an e-road regulation that had not as yet been published for comment.

That is according to Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) chairperson Wayne Duvenage on Tuesday.

READ (PDF): Gazette 38997

“Contrary to recent reports that vehicle licence discs can be withheld for unpaid e-toll bills - following the release of Gazette 38997 - as it turns out, paragraph 2 of the gazette made an erroneous reference to an e-Road regulation that had not as yet been published for comment,” he said in a statement.

The paragraph Duvenage referred to says that "the owner of which has failed to comply with the requirements of the e-Road Regulations, 2015 published under section 58(1)(dA) and (dC) of the South African National Roads Agency Limited and National Roads Act, 1998 (Act No. 7 of 1998) for the payment of tolls where the South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited has applied a mark in terms of regulation 11 of those eRoad Regulations to the effect that the owner of the vehicle has outstanding tolls in respect of the vehicle concerned.”

Duvenage said Outa found it "rather absurd that once again, Sanral (the South African National Roads Agency) and the Department of Transport cannot get their act together, when trying to amend legislation to force the unjust e-toll scheme into being".

He continued: “Some four years have passed since the first planned launch of the e-toll scheme in April 2011, and still to this day, the comedy of errors and problems abound, all of which indicate how problematic, irrational and unworkable the entire plan has become.

“For now, we are pleased the gazette will have to be amended (a correction gazette still will shortly be lodged by the Department of Transport), which means that there is currently no link between outstanding e-toll bills and the renewal of vehicle licences.  

“However, as and when the authorities do attempt to regulate e-toll payments through the renewal of vehicle licence discs or any other methodology, Outa will challenge these irrational decisions and provide motorists with advice and input on how to deal with this strategy by government.”

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