More threats as e-toll saga continues

More threats as e-toll saga continues

As we were preparing to send last week’s newsletter (on Thursday, February 11), incidents of threatening SMS messages regarding payment of e-toll accounts came to the fore.

The threatening SMSs, allegedly attributable to ITC Business Administrators, read: “We have noted your refusal to pay your outstanding e-toll balance. Your vehicle details are being submitted for listing, and legal action will commence with costs incurred. Call 087 353 1490 Ref …”

One of the many opponents to the e-toll scheme, the Justice Project South Africa (JPSA), has added its comment on the issue.

“It is somewhat strange that the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) has chosen to do so just half way through the so-called ‘new dispensation’, wherein a discount of 60 percent on outstanding e-tolls bills is being extended to those who choose to take advantage of this offer before May 1,” the organisation begins.

“In our view, this can only be interpreted as meaning that Sanral’s ‘less 60 percent’ campaign has already failed to achieve the desired results. By already hiring a debt collection firm to start threatening motorists, Sanral has again proved its bad faith and unscrupulous business ethics.”

The agency had previously threatened people with criminal records for non-payment of e-tolls, before it was acknowledged that the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Act, and not the Criminal Procedure Act, must be used to prosecute alleged offenders.

“Furthermore, the matter of noncompliance of electronic equipment installed in Sanral’s gantries, with the Legal Metrology Act, is still to be settled and could render every single invoice Sanral has generated illegal,” it continues.  

“It is, therefore, JPSA’s considered opinion that Sanral’s latest ‘rent-a-thug’ tactic may well backfire, given the fact that people, who were not intimidated by the hollow threat of incurring a criminal record, are unlikely to feel more intimidated by having their vehicle particulars ‘listed’ on some undefined and unknown ‘list’ and having debt collectors hound them to death with equally hollow threats of ‘legal proceedings,’ JPSA concludes.

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