Listening to reason
Reason has finally entered the e-toll saga as the Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters, has announced that no e-toll prosecutions will proceed “while the South African National Roads Agency Limited’s (Sanral’s) billing systems are being sorted out”.
“This is a logical step in the right direction and will prevent the creation of artificial criminals, which would have been created by Sanral, if the National Prosecuting Authority had proceeded with prosecutions and managed to convict people, while the e-tolls review panel does its work,” states Justice Project South Africa (JPSA).
It adds, however, that other problems persist as Sanral-branded vehicles continue to accompany roadblocks set up by the Gauteng Department of Community Safety (GDoCS), “despite the fact that Sanral has publicly acknowledged it ‘has no authority to enforce e-toll laws‘”.
JPSA points out: “According to Sanral, ‘its personnel are civilians, who have no authority to stop any vehicle to enforce e-toll laws’ and to use ‘e-toll vehicles (fitted with highly technical equipment) to identify registered e-toll users from those who are not’.”
Furthermore, JPSA adds: “The Sanral e-toll branded vehicles (midi-buses, trucks and trailers) all bear the five-pointed star of the GDoCS Traffic Police and, in the case of midi-buses and trucks, are fitted with blue flashing-light bars and, presumably, sirens.
“This, in itself, is tantamount to impersonation of a traffic officer (vehicle) and since Sanral has now publicly admitted that it ‘has no authority to enforce e-toll laws’, all Gauteng Traffic Police branding, warning lamps and sirens must be removed from these vehicles forthwith.”
JPSA states that the vehicles supplied to GDoCS, by Sanral, have Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) equipment linked to the electronic national administration traffic information system (eNaTIS) installed in them.
Additionally, there is no legal requirement for any motor vehicle to have an e-tag – “therefore there can be no justifiable reason, or need, for the Sanral-branded motor vehicles and trailers to be present at these roadblocks”.
“It has long been the contention of JPSA that the presence of e-toll branded vehicles at these roadblocks is nothing more than an intimidation tactic, but it is now crystal clear that the vehicles themselves are operating illegally and in violation of the National Road Traffic Act and Regulations.”
JPSA concludes: “In light of these facts, JPSA has sent Sanral and the minister of transport a letter demanding that Sanral immediately ceases operating its unlawful vehicles on public roads and refrains from deploying them to any future roadblocks mounted by the Gauteng Traffic Police.”