Gauteng motorist fined R20k for evading e-tolls

Stoyan Stoychev pleaded guilty to 987 counts of failing to pay e-tolls.

FILE. An e-toll gantry on the N1 in Johannesburg. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

PRETORIA - A Gauteng motorist has been fined R20,000 after pleading guilty to fraud for altering his number plates to avoid paying e-tolls for about a year.

Dr Stoyan Stoychev appeared in the Pretoria Magistrates Court today where the matter was finalised.

Stoychev pleaded guilty to 987 counts of failing to pay e-tolls, a count for each gantry he drove under without paying.

He was fined R20,000 and will also have to pay the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) R13,200 in outstanding toll fees.

From December 2013 until March the following year, Stoychev used the freeway system but simply didn't pay the fees.

Between March and August he started using an altered number plate.

Then, between August and October, he fitted a false number plate to his vehicle.

Meanwhile, Sanral has welcomed the verdict in Stoychev's case.

Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair warned Stoychev his crimes are serious.

"The crime of fraud required presence mind, he removed the vehicle's licence numbers, changed registration plates and used that to avoid detection."

Sanral's Vusi Mona hopes this will force a change in the general attitude towards e-tolls.

"We hope the public will respond positively, see this for what it is, and start paying what is due to the state."

Stoychev was also ordered to perform 200 hours of community service at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.