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E-tolls were 'doomed from the get-go' - Outa

The roads agency's board of directors has passed an urgent resolution, suspending the legal processes aimed at collecting outstanding fees.

Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has welcomed Sanral's announcement to drop e-toll debt summonses, at least for now, saying it's good news for motorists who've consistently taken a stand against the failed system.

The roads agency's board of directors has passed an urgent resolution, suspending the legal processes aimed at collecting outstanding fees.

This covers historic debt from as far back as 2015 and means no new summonses will be applied for.

However, Sanral said the decision would be constantly monitored and reviewed according to prevailing circumstances.

Gauteng residents, civil society and trade unions have spent the past several years calling for e-tolls to be scrapped.

Since its inception over five years ago, there's been no clear indication on how the system will be financed with its debt now exceeding R40 billion.

Outa's Wayne Duvenage said the failed system should never have been implemented in the first place.

“They should’ve never started it but they should’ve also pulled the plug on it within a year. They would’ve seen the system was failing, it was doomed to fail in the long run.”

Sanral says the latest decision was taken in light of an initiative led by President Cyril Ramaphosa to address the e-tolls payment impasse.

Earlier this month, the Electronic Toll Collection applied to the courts for about 1,400 default judgments against motorists who have failed to cough up for e-tolls and have ignored summons to settle their accounts.

Duvenage said government needed to clarify what the latest development means for the future of the e-tolling system.

“The question is what does this mean for the longevity or the continuation of the scheme; does that mean people have to stop paying now or never have to pay?”

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