As government continues to drag its feet on providing a solution to the failed Gauteng e-tolling system, roads agency Sanral is gearing up for a new legal framework which could see motorists fined, or having licence renewals blocked if they don’t pay their outstanding fees.
New warnings from Sanral have started appearing online, including a warning that vehicle licence renewals will be blocked if a driver has not paid their e-tolls, the paper said.
A Sanral spokesperson reportedly confirmed that the warnings were live, but could not say whether the changes were in effect.
Civil group Outa said that the warning was fear mongering, stating that, if it were in effect, 80% of road users in the province would not be able to renew their vehicle licences.
“Renewal of a vehicle licence can only be withheld with if an enforcement order for outstanding infringements fines has been issued against an owner/driver of a vehicle, and it hasn’t been paid. Outstanding e-toll fees is not an infringement (road traffic offence),” it said.
However, a new set of penalties for the non-payment of tolls are coming along with the implementation of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act, which takes effect in July 2021.
Under the Aarto, a new demerit and penalties regime will come into effect, which will see motorists start out with a set number of points, losing them if they commit various traffic offences.
In previous drafts of the laws, failing to pay tolls, including e-tolls, would have seen drivers lose one demerit point and receive a fine. Amended laws removed the demerit point, but kept the fines.
According to the Democratic Alliance, as the laws currently stand, drivers face a R500 fine each time they pass under an e-toll gantry and do not pay – while other fees, such as administrative costs of sending fines, could see another R100 slapped on top of that.
Various group have warned that the Aarto may be used to force e-toll compliance, and have opposed the laws on this basis.
Regarding licence renewals, Sanral’s threat to withhold licence renewals has been sitting on its e-toll website since the “new e-toll dispensation” was announced in 2015.
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