National 9.9.2016 07:10 am

Sanral to back off motorists

File photo. Anti e-tolling protestors are seen demonstrating under an e-toll gantry on the N1 South, 6 December 2012, during a drive slow protest. Picture: Refilwe Modise

File photo. Anti e-tolling protestors are seen demonstrating under an e-toll gantry on the N1 South, 6 December 2012, during a drive slow protest. Picture: Refilwe Modise

All legal claims against Outa members who owe Sanral money on their e-toll bills are now provisionally immune from legal action, the organisation has said.

After “several months” of negotiations, the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) has, through its lawyers, agreed to stay all legal claims against members of the public who owe money on their e-toll bills and are either already members of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), or will become members of Outa.

“Pending the completion of an e-toll test-case process that started in June following a legal agreement with Sanral, all current and future members of Outa who are represented by Outa’s legal team are now provisionally immune from legal claims by Sanral for the nonpayment of e-tolls,” Outa said yesterday.

But the agreed stay of legal claims was pending the completion of the test-case process, which could take more than two years to complete. “The agreement grants the entire Outa member community immunity until the case is complete,” Outa chairperson Wayne Duvenage said.

“Our aim is to show that e-tolling is unlawful in the test case and should we succeed, the stay of legal claims will become permanent.”

Duvenage said Sanral had expressly rejected Outa’s proposal to include the stay of prosecution to the public at large in this agreement. “Thus, only those individuals and businesses who become members of Outa and opt to fall under Outa’s E-Toll Defence Umbrella [now or in future] will thereby fall under the agreement.”

Duvenage said Sanral had clearly indicated its intention to continue applying legal action and summonsing e-toll defaulters outside Outa’s membership base. “All indications are that new rounds of summons are being issued by Sanral.”

The DA in Gauteng has, meanwhile, called on residents who refuse to pay e-tolls to join Outa. “The DA is confident that Outa has sufficient evidence and ability to successfully defend an e-toll noncompliance case,” the DA said.

“It is our intention to fight for residents during consultation on existing tolling tariffs to prevent increases and will ensure our metro police officials do not harass motorists over their e-toll account status.

“The DA will continue to fight the unjust imposition of e-tolls on Gauteng’s motorists. We will not stop until every last gantry is switched off.”

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