Motorists assured e-tags are voluntary
Motorists are not obliged to buy an e-tag to travel on Gauteng’s roads, the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) said on Tuesday.
“Sanral would like to clarify to road users that it is not compulsory for road users to buy an e-tag for Gauteng e-tolling. Registering with an e-tag is optional,” it said in a statement.
It was reported earlier that Sanral was attempting to legally force motorists to buy an e-tag or have their driver’s licences taken away.
“Road users are therefore not forced to buy an e-tag but are encouraged to obtain one to enjoy the cost saving benefits available to e-tag users.”
These benefits included a 48% e-tag discount and a frequent user discount.
It was reported that draft changes to the National Roads Act Regulations—pertaining to e-tolling—were submitted to a few parties late last week with a request that comment be received within 20 days of publication.
If instituted, it would give “peace officers” the power to stop cars and demand to see a driver’s licence and to produce any other tag or document they were required to have.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) said the regulations sought to give Sanral chief executive Nazir Alli the power to appoint his own police force to ensure toll compliance.
“The regulations allow the CEO to appoint peace officers who will have sweeping powers to stop, search and confiscate any document found in the vehicle, including drivers’ licences, at their sole discretion,” said DA transport spokesperson Neil Campbell.
“The legality of summarily confiscating a document, required by law to be in a driver’s possession, must be tested,” he said.
He said considering action had been taken against the tolls in court and with the National Consumer Commission, the legislation could be considered an act of desperation to intimidate motorists into accepting this unjust tax.
“At the very best the draft is an over-reaction to the toll dilemma which Mr Alli and the Minister have created for themselves. It’s appalling to create a police force merely to enforce unjust taxes,” said Campbell.—Sapa.