Sanral accused of ducking legal action

The South African National Road Agency Limited (Sanral) is trying to duck legal action against it over the e-tolling system, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Thursday.

“It seems that Sanral will try any trick in the book to avoid legal attempts to expose its unpopular urban highway tolls as illegal,” DA Gauteng transport spokesperson Neil Campbell said in a statement.

He said the parties were to have met at the National Consumer Commission (NCC) on Thursday morning but the DA was notified by the commission at 4pm on Wednesday that Sanral had cancelled.

“Last week, Sanral did not arrive in time for the meeting and on being contacted by the NCC, stated that they had not been informed of the meeting,” he said.

According to Campbell, the reasons given included that Sanral wanted to meet with the NCC before the hearing and that the matter was sub-judice because of impending legal action by the Opposition to Urban Tolls Alliance.

Sanral had also said it had not had time to draft a response, although a response was received by the DA from Sanral at the end of January.

“The short notice given to the NCC and the DA demonstrates that the arrogant attitude of Sanral continues unabated,” said Campbell.

‘Draconian draft legislation’
“This is further highlighted by the draconian draft legislation sneakily introduced recently, which seeks to form a private police force just for toll infringements, at a time when serious crime is rampant.”

He said the matter gave strength to the public boycott of e-tags which the DA continued to endorse as it was a legitimate consumer protest.

Meanwhile, Sanral said it was engaging with the NCC about complaints related to its terms and conditions.

“This engagement is not only about the concerns of the DA but also those raised by other parties. We respect and take the concerns raised seriously,” the agency said in response to the DA’s complaint.

It was necessary to first conclude these matters and then address the issues raised by all complainants, rather than just the limited issues of an individual complaint.

“While there are other reasons why the conciliation meeting is not appropriate, we believe that the outcome of Sanral’s ongoing engagement with the NCC will take into account the DA’s concerns and that a conciliation meeting at this stage may be premature,” it said.

Sanral said it would remain open to meeting with the DA, but only after the current process was concluded.—Sapa

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