E-TOLLS BATTLE: Outa and Sanral continue to battle regarding e-tolls in Gauteng. Image: iStock.
UPDATE: Wheels24 readers share their views regarding the Sanral/Outa battle. Read their responses at the end of the article.
Johannesburg - Earlier in September, Wheels24 reported on the on-going legal battle the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral), and the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), regarding e-tolls in Gauteng.
The dispute, raised in the public domain over the past week by the two organisations, relates to legal discussions regarding court summons issued to e-toll defaulters, reports the Automobile Association (AA).
According to Outa, an agreement was reached that current, and future, Outa members – who have outstanding e-toll accounts - will not be pursued until a test case to determine the legality of e-tolls on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) is concluded.
Sanral, in turn, denied that an agreement has been reached, claiming that Outa is using this as a means of attracting (paid for) membership.
Neither Outa nor Sanral have mentioned the position of non-Outa members, especially those who are not paying their e-tolls accounts, and how they should proceed if they are summonsed by the roads agency.
READ: E-tolls battle: Outa members granted 'immunity'
The AA said: “Whatever the situation may be, this current round of debate in the media between the two parties is not bringing any clarity to Gauteng road users on how they must proceed in relation to e-tolls. Many road users still do not pay for e-tolls, and are anxious for a final legal ruling. In light of this, we urge both Sanral and Outa to consider that this is not benefitting anyone.”
What do you think of the on-going battle between Outa and Sanral? Email usyour thoughts
In addition, the AA noted it is of particular concern that Outa claims that an agreement has been reached in relation to its current and future members.
“We understand that many motorists have joined Outa to protect themselves legally in the event they are summonsed to appear in court. We believe there are many motorists who are not, or do not intend to be, members of Outa, or who are members of other organisations. Their rights should similarly be protected one way or another. If it is true that an arrangement has been made (only for current and future Outa members), this amounts to protection for a specific group of individuals, which is wholly unfair and, we would argue, may be unconstitutional,” the AA said.
Outcome of the case
It further noted that if Sanral has an agreement with Outa, or any other civic organisations, then it does not seem unreasonable to expect a joint statement from all involved parties to this effect.
The Association said it is also concerned that the issue of the e-tolls saga was not being resolved quicker.
READ: Sanral vs Outa: 'Row bad for Gauteng drivers'
The AA concluded: “As far back as April we noted that the issue of the validity of the debts would end in court, and urged all concerned to resolve this issue as priority, for the sake of all motorists in Gauteng. We are dismayed that at what seems to be endless delays in bring this matter to finality, a situation that is not benefiting the most important players in all of this: Gauteng motorists.”
Readers respondKatya Coetzee: Outa and that racist Wayne Duvenage must stop. Aren't things bad enough with the economy and the country that he's pushing Sanral to bankruptcy when they are doing good work? E-tolls is the law - even the new Mayor of Joburg has said that he is not advocating that people must break the law. What has Outa made, built, given to this country? Just a bunch of old white Englishmen who give people the wrong ideas and defend those big trucking companies who chow the road but don't want to pay for that road.
Outa should get outta here.
Gerrie Pretorius: The sooner Sanral and by implication the government of the day, decide to 'come clean' with all information requested by Outa, FF Plus and others, the sooner this saga will end. It is Sanral causing the delays, not the parties opposed to this monumental waste of tax money.
Christofa Smit: I'm extremely greatfull towards Outa for fighting this criminal act whether you as the AA like it or not.
Armand du Plessis: Irrespective of the outcome of the legal battles, I am not paying the toll and I also believe that many other residents in Gauteng feel the same. My objection is not against the method of tolling, i.e. e toll, but rather against the principal of tolling of roads in urban areas. I do however, believe that the reason for having chosen the overseas operator was simply a means of moving money overseas in order to relocate same into back pockets of connected persons.