Watch out for SANRAL's default judgments on e-tolls

And the lawfare continues...

OUTA has recently been notified by members of the public that SANRAL is obtaining default judgments against e-toll defaulters.


While SANRAL is within its rights to do so, it does beg the question: Why is SANRAL obtaining default judgments against motorists when it is engaged in a case with OUTA’s supporters testing the lawfulness of the defunct e-toll scheme?


By obtaining default judgments for the non-payment of e-tolls, motorists’ credit ratings may be affected, which makes it more difficult to obtain credit facilities. Default judgments arise when a debtor does not respond to or defend a summons.

“In our opinion, SANRAL is waging a dangerous war against the citizens of South Africa,” says Rudie Heyneke, OUTA’s Transport Portfolio Manager. “We have seen instances where these default judgments were obtained for debt that had already prescribed. 

Furthermore, what happens if default judgments were obtained against motorists for vehicles that were not theirs, as others had cloned their registration plates?

 
 

 OUTA would like to remind motorists that summonses must not be ignored. If these are issued for unpaid e-tolls, they must act quickly. They can contact OUTA’s offices for guidance on how to address the matter. By not responding to a summons, motorists open themselves up to default judgments and further legal actions that arise from this.


It also important to note that the State is under no obligation to inform motorists once a default judgment has been made. They may only find out the next time they apply for credit, such as when attempting to take out a home loan. This can have a disastrous financial impact on households.


OUTA also urges motorists who have defied the irrational e-toll scheme to check with a credit bureau whether SANRAL has taken a default judgment against them. In the event this has ocurred and they were not aware of it, they should consider having this judgment rescinded through the courts. By ignoring this, their credit ratings may be negatively affected.


In November, Transport Minister Blade Nzimande said that there were discussions underway to resolve the e-tolls issue. We call on the Minister to stand by his statement and pressure Government to show leadership and end this irrational scheme, so South Africans may move forward.

For more information on e-toll summonses, see here.