E-tolls summons and threats – No need to panic!
In response, OUTA wishes to inform the public that they need not panic or become anxious about this latest development, as this is precisely what SANRAL seeks to achieve by their recent statements.
At the outset, SANRAL’s media statement clearly indicated they intend to tackle the high value corporate entities in the high court civil claim, which entertains debt in excess of R400,000. Civil claims of this nature, if properly defended, will take many months, if not years to bring to fruition. What SANRAL would like to have the public believe, is that everyone will shortly be receiving an e-toll summons to appear in court, but this is not the case and is virtually impossible for them or the courts to do.
“We believe this latest action by SANRAL is being driven by two factors, the first being a need to demonstrate to the ratings agencies that they can and will take action, following two years of threatening to do so. Eventually, there comes a day when they would either have to drop the cause or decide to carry through with their threats. SANRAL and the Government have unwisely demonstrated their decision to press on with their failed scheme, which is akin to flogging a dead horse,” says Wayne Duvenage, the Chairperson of the OUTA.
“Secondly, it is our view that SANRAL and their bosses have now lost sight of the wedge being driven between the state and its citizens by this grossly irrational decision. Such a serious step and action begs the question of what really lies behind the decision to forge ahead with such an unpopular and unsound scheme which has failed to garner the necessary support of society.”
OUTA wishes to raise to the public’s attention SANRAL and ETC’s highly objectionable decision to ring-fence all unpaid e-toll debt incurred before September 2015 (which totals to more R14 Billion before the discount), and to pursue this collection through contracts with private debt collection companies such as ITC Business Administrators.
These well connected debt collection companies, stand to make large undisclosed amounts from all historic e-toll fees collected. These same debt collectors have business dealings and past associations with prior senior management at the Electronic Tolling Collection (ETC) company, and will no doubt be earning a handsome revenue stream from the e-toll debt pot. OUTA believes this to be one motivating factor for the renewed drive to create the heightened anxiety levels that will steer some of the public toward settling the e-toll debt.
Additionally, there are still the supplier companies to ETC and SANRAL that are enjoying the fruits of the collections scheme from the 20% revenues being generated, despite the fact that they cannot service the road construction debt from the e-toll process.
“OUTA commends the public on holding out and demonstrating to Government and its agencies that they will not be bullied into compliance with an irrational and unjust scheme for the past two years. We will bring our arguments of proof of an irrational, unworkable and unlawfully introduced scheme to the courts, if and when one of our contributing supporters is summonsed for non-payment of e-tolls, ” says Duvenage.
“OUTA will also shortly post advice and action steps to take on our website in the event that someone (individual or businesses) is served with a summons for the non-payment of e-tolls.”