‘E-tolls debt collection won’t work’

Norton Rose Fulbright lawyer Patrick Bracher says Sanral is making empty threats.

Norton Rose Fulbright lawyer Patrick Bracher says Sanral is making empty threats on e-tolls. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral)'s claim that drivers who refuse to comply with e-tolling will face the full might of the law is 'amusing', prominent Johannesburg lawyer Patrick Bracher said on Monday.

E-toll gantries throughout Gauteng will go live on 3 December.

On Sunday, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said flouters would face criminal charges.

Earlier on Monday, Sanral CEO Nazir Alli echoed the minister's comments.

He warned motorists to pay the bill within seven days or a debt collector would be sent.

But Bracher, senior director at Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa, told 567 CapeTalk/Talk Radio 702's Bruce Whitfield that carrying out the threat would prove extremely inefficient.

"That's not as easy as it seems. Assuming you only go through one e-toll a month and your account is R17.40, there's no economic way of collecting that."

Bracher adds that it's unusual and unfair to expect payments to be made in such a short period.

"It doesn't seem to be good that one talks about seven days. I know very few people in commerce who expect invoices to be paid in seven days."

But the call for civil disobedience continues to grow, with a number of prominent unions, political parties and civil groups urging motorists not to buy e-tags and to ignore invoices.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has gone so far as to threaten the ruling ANC.

It says it's considering withdrawing all support for the party if e-tolling goes through.