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DA: e-toll courts 'alarming'

2013-10-15 07:10

BETTER PAY UP! Sanral along with the government has requested a special court to prosecute non-paying e-toll offenders. Image: AFP

  Video

'The enforcement and administration of e-tolling is inefficient and grossly flawed.' This video explains why Gauteng e-tolls make no sense.

Johannesburg - A reported plan to establish e-toll courts was alarming, the Democratic Alliance's Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane has said.

Maimane said in reaction to the story, broken by Beeld newspaper: "Government's plan to create courts to prosecute people who do not pay e-tolls must sound the alarm bells for all Gauteng residents."

Earlier in the day, Beeld reported that the SA Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) and the justice department were discussing the possibility of establishing special courts where e-toll non-payers could be prosecuted - perhaps in response to reports that non-payers would swamp the courts system.

SPECIAL COURT

Maimane said in a statement: "If these plans go ahead, a road user who fails to pay the astronomical cost of R400 a month for regular trips between Soweto and Midrand will be hauled before a special court and prosecuted."

Justice department spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga reportedly said Sanral had asked for such a court. "We are still talking about what would be the best method," Mhaga was quoted as saying.

Maimane said talk of the courts was a sign the state was "serious about emptying the pockets of South Africans" and urged Gautengers to take action.

National Prosecuting Authority communications head Bulewa Makeke said it was the NPA's responsibility to allow courts to apply laws that had been accepted. Neither the justice department nor the NPA "could speculate" on whether the country's legal system would be able to cope.

Maimane said."We cannot afford a situation where honest road users are convicted in their thousands while the real criminals who rape and steal continue to escape the criminal justice system."

Vehicle owners would receive fines by registered mail that could lead to a court summons. According to the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance's court documents, this could be about 2.1-million summonses.

Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona said vehicle owners who did not pay their tolls would be charged under the Sanral Act. If the first debt-collection process failed, a final notice would be sent and the matter would be handed over to the prosecuting authority.

It would be done electronically, he said.
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