Johannesburg - Drivers who don’t purchase an e-tag for Gauteng’s new toll roads have been threatened with a punitive tariff of R1.75/km! ‘Mother of all protests’ planned.The SA National Roads Agency said: "Users who do not register, or who do not have valid and operational e-tags and who do not pay within seven days will ultimately pay a significantly higher tariff."The agency cited costs associated with recovering payment, including invoicing and debt collection, as reasons for the R1.75 punitive tariff; the usual rate is 30c/km for registered users.'UNDERHANDED TARIFF'Sanral's statement follows criticism from the Democratic Alliance on Sunday that the new rate was introduced without engaging the public.The DA's Gauteng transport spokesperson, Neil Campbell, said: "The DA is alarmed by the underhanded manner in which the national Minister of Transport, S'bu Ndebele, and Sanral have introduced a new punitive tariff for non-registered users. "The absolute arrogance and lack of transparent processes shown by Sanral to the public throughout the whole toll introduction is abhorrent."Sanral described an "alternate user" as someone "who does not have a valid and operational e-tag, is not registered with Sanral, and who is not a day-pass user"."Sanral's view is that paying users should not pay higher costs to cover those who choose not to pay. As per Sanral's governing legislation, it has long been an offence not to pay toll fees and the status quo is retained," Sanral said."By continually encouraging users not to register, it is actually the DA that is going to end up costing road users significantly more than they could otherwise have been paying."Sanral highlighted that the "alternate user" was entitled to pay the standard tariff if he or she paid within the seven days' grace period. It said this period lapsed seven days after the due date.MOUNTING COSTSQuoting from a statement it issued in 2011, the agency said it had indicated that non-payment of tolls would result in additional costs. It urged road users "to do what is necessary" for them to pay the least amount possible in e-toll fees."Road users should not rely on the fear-mongering and false promises of organisations with their own peculiar vested interests who claim that they will be able to stop e-tolling for ever."Meanwhile, Campbell called on National Consumer Commissioner Mamodupi Mohlala to investigate this "outrageous" new penalty tariff.A recent march by the Congress of SA Trade Unions highlighted opposition to the tolls, with many motorists threatening not to pay.The Justice Project SA lambasted Sanral and Ndebele for "intimidating" motorists to buy e-tags.The group said: "Just when we thought [they] could not get any more devious, they have surprised us all... Now more than ever is the time for Gauteng drivers to stand firm and refuse to be intimidated by the bullies."The organisation hoped the courts could bring an end to this "looming disaster".According to Sanral, 300 000 road users had e-tags at the start of April 2012. The toll system will officiall kick in at midnight on April 30.