Sanral yet to issue e-toll summonses

The roads agency says it still hasn't opened any criminal cases relating to e-tolling debts.

Sanral says it still hasn't opened any criminal cases relating to e-tolling debts. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African National Road Agency Limited (Sanral) on Tuesday said it hasn't started sending out summonses to motorists who fail to pay their e-tolling bills.

At the same time, the agency says it's noticed an uptake in the number of drivers who are settling their accounts.

According to figures released by the Department Of Transport, motorists ran up a bill of more than half a billion rand in overdue e-tolls from 1 December 2013 to 1 March 2014.

A total of more than R543 million in unpaid tolls had 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 Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) on Tuesday said Sanral was gearing up for what it called the "final showdown" with motorists.

E-tolling was launched in December, despite widespread opposition from politicians, groups and Gauteng residents.

The system was also plagued by billing issues.

Outa's John Clarke says motorists must not be intimidated nor should they fall for any incentives Sanral offers before taking legal action.

"Sanral's down to having to play its last card, which is to basically threaten people with criminal prosecution. We just want the public to be forewarned so that they're forearmed."

Sanral's Nazir Alli says they are applying regular debt collecting methods like any other company in South Africa.

"We have not started sending out summonses yet. There's a debt collection process that we're following."

He says that process needs to be exhausted first before taking further steps.

Sanral has also recently re-entered the bond market, raising half a billion rand.