JPSA media statement
TO: ALL NEWS AND TRANSPORT EDITORS
DATE: WEDNESDAY 14 MARCH 2012
SUBJECT: STOP THE THREATS!
When the threats of prosecution, imprisonment and other dire consequences for resisting the Gauteng e-tolls and not registering with SANRAL first started a few weeks ago, JPSA National Chairman, Howard Dembovsky said “I find these idle threats amusing.” But now that these threats have endured for more than three weeks, this “amusement” has transformed to utter disgust.
The latest threat which emanates from Nazir Alli of SANRAL and National Department of Transport spokesperson Tiyani Rikhotso now threatens motorists with being unable to get license discs for their vehicles.
According to a report in the Star newspaper, “Department of Transport spokesman Tiyani Rikhotso on Tuesday night said it would be considered in the same light as not paying your traffic fines, which was a cause for disallowing the renewal of a vehicle licence.”
The Department of Transport should be acutely aware of the fact that regulation 59 of the National Road traffic regulations only allows for withholding licence discs if the person concerned has outstanding licensing fees or licensing penalties or, in the case of traffic fines, if they have failed to appear in court on a summons for a traffic offence and a warrant of arrest has been issued against them. The only exception to this rule is that under AARTO, a licence disk may be withheld if an Enforcement Order has been issued against the party concerned.
Just because licensing authorities have been abusing the National Road Traffic Regulations with impunity for ages now does not make it legal for them to do so and effectively force motorists to further break the law by not displaying a licence disc, despite paying the licensing fees and/or violate their constitutional right to freedom of movement.
One would have thought that the Department of Transport, SANRAL, RTMC, etc. would have taken the trouble to ensure that there was some form of workable legislation in place to deal with e-tolling defaulters by now, given the fact that they have been on about e-tolling Gauteng’s roads since 2003. Surely 9 years should have been more than sufficient time to draft and get parliament to ratify legislation, instead of now rushing to push something through and/or try to shoehorn non-compliance into existing legislation that does not cater for it?
There is no legislation that compels anyone to buy an e-tag or register with SANRAL to have monies deducted at will out of their banking accounts. Suggestions that you will be forced to do so or face not having your licence disc issued is nothing short of extortion and we take a very dim view of those concerned resorting to this tactic in order to intimidate Gauteng residents into complying with the decrees of all concerned.
There is much to be done on the legislation front in order for the threats to become a reality and government had best just hope that their stance survives the legal challenges of some and organised public outrage of others when they deal with these matters in the authoritarian and insensitive manner that they have adopted thus far.
The following individuals may be contacted for further information and further comment:
Howard Dembovsky: 082 418 firstname.lastname@example.org