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Sanral: There’s still time to pay

The roads agency says motorists who fail to pay e-toll bills will face criminal charges.

Sanral says motorists who fail to honour unpaid e-tolls will face criminal charges. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - Motorists who haven't paid their e-tolls still have at least 30 days to settle their accounts or face criminal charges, the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) said on Wednesday.

The Department of Transport said as of 1 March, motorists had run up a bill of more than half a billion rand in overdue e-tolls since the system's launch on 3 December.

A total of more than R543 million in unpaid tolls has been transferred to Sanral's Violations Processing Centre, which manages debt collection.

Only nine percent of that amount, which excluded VAT, was collected thus far. With VAT included, the total amount owed as of 1 March was nearly R620 million.

The department also revealed that around R54 million, also excluding VAT, had already been spent on Sanral's debt collection, with more than half going to postal services and printing invoices.

Sanral Chief Financial Officer Inge Mulder said figures included those with e-tags.

She adds that motorists are given more than enough time to pay up.

"We provide several incentives. For a period of at least 60 days, we use an incentive basis to get people to pay early and register. Even if you don't register, you still get the discount."

Mulder says most drivers could still qualify for the 30-day discount of 50 percent or 60-day discount of 30 percent.

She says failure to make payments within that period could result in a criminal record.

"Remember, the non-payment of tolls is not a traffic offence - it's actually a criminal offence. [But] we'd rather push people to pay within the specified period of time."

Meanwhile, the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) on Tuesday confirmed that unpaid tolls would not prohibit motorists from renewing licences.