E-tags aren’t mandatory
Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) reaffirms that there is no legal requirement for any motorist to have an e-tag! This after it has received numerous inquiries about roadblocks set up on June 3, by Gauteng Department of Community Safety (GDoCS) officers, contracted to the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) and using Sanral-branded e-toll trucks.
“At first we assumed that these roadblocks were merely being used to check for false, cloned, altered, obscured and missing number plates – as would be consistent with proper physical visible policing,” JPSA states.
However, it has come to the company’s attention that motorists, with no defects on their vehicles, have been stopped at the roadblock set up at Atlas Road and asked: “why they don’t have an e-tag” and “why they are driving on the e-toll road without having an e-tag” – with their names and ID numbers being recorded.
“There is no requirement for any person to have an e-tag in any law and even Sanral’s spokesperson, Vusi Mona, and others have confirmed this,” JPSA assures. The organisation has also been in touch with a senior officer from the GDoCS to ascertain the truth about what is going on at these roadblocks; and has been assured that all of the exercises in the northern parts of Johannesburg and Pretoria are purely looking for defective number plates, licence discs and other vehicle/driver defects.
“We have lodged a complaint with respect to what allegedly happened at Atlas Road and will be forwarding motorists’ complaints to GDoCS for action,” notes JPSA.
“Unfortunately, the presence of Sanral’s heavily branded orange e-toll trucks, at all of these exercises, has created (what can only be described as) a ‘mass panic’ among motorists; many of whom have assumed that they are there to enforce outstanding e-tolls.”
JPSA says that Sanral has repeatedly engaged in propaganda and intimidation exercises, in order to try to force motorists to register and get e-tags. “It would be naïve, at best, to think that they would not take full advantage of the psychological effect, on motorists, of having these trucks accompany legitimate law enforcement exercises.”
The company adds that motorists should not panic, however, as getting an e-tag is a personal choice – but it is not a legal requirement in order to drive on the Gauteng e-toll highways.
“JPSA has no problem whatsoever with traffic police enforcing general traffic laws and checking vehicle and driver fitness. However, if people are to be intimidated by asking them about requirements that don’t exist, then we do have a problem and will take the appropriate action.”