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Cosatu condemns Sanral’s move to send summons for unpaid e-tolls

Cosatu says threatening to send summons to motorists who don’t pay their etolls is bureaucratic bullying.

Sanral's highway monitoring an toll collection centre in Johahannesburg. Picture: Barry Bateman/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) says the threat to summons Gauteng motorists who don't pay their e-tolls amounts to bureaucratic bullying and social harassment.

This week South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) announced that its instructed sheriffs in regions across Gauteng to start issuing summonses targeting mainly high level offenders.

Civil society organisation The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) said it would challenge the summonses after several failed attempts to have e-tolls declared illegal.

The trade union federation says using legal threats to force motorists into paying for a system they don't want will only lead to a further waste of resources.

Spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said, "We view it as an extreme form of bullying so we reject and denounce it because the fact that they are now resorting to legal traps is a result of their own fault to implement a policy that was unanimously rejected by the citizens of Gauteng."

'MOTORISTS ARE FREE TO APPROACH COURTS OVER SUMMONS'

Earlier this week, Sanral said those who want to contest the receipt of summonses over outstanding e-toll fees are free to take their matters to court.

The roads agency said it would mainly target high level offenders such as companies with large amounts of unpaid debt.

The road agency's spokesperson Vusi Mona said, "They still have an opportunity, when they receive a summons, to say they change their minds and say 'we will come forward and pay and we're interested and taking up a 60 percent discount'. If they ignore, we will seek a judgment; and if they want to entrust it in court then we will meet in a court of law."

JPSA WARNS SANRAL AGAINST ISSUING SUMMONSES TO DEFAULTERS

The Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) said several factors could count against the roads agency if motorists headed to court.

The organisation argued that the use of unapproved cameras on e-toll gantries as well as several billing inaccuracies could threaten Sanral's credibility in court.

The Justice Project's Howard Dembovsky warned if Sanral loses these cases in court the e-tolling system could collapse.