A disgruntled e-toll user has adopted President Jacob Zuma’s “tactics” in explaining why he won’t be paying his bills. With civil society organisations and some political party leaders calling for Zuma’s removal, citizens have vowed to ignore demands to pay outstanding e-toll bills on their vehicles.
Taking to social media platform Facebook last week, Floyd Nkuna posted a response to a request by South African National Road Agency (Sanral), after the agency sent a text of demand for payment of his e-toll bill.
“Like Jacob Zuma, who did not ask for the upgrades for Nkandla, I also did not ask for the e-tolls, hence I will not be paying back the money,” he states.
Nkuna received support from other Facebook users, saying they would also not be paying any of the bills for something they did not ask for. The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) also urged members of the public to stand up Sanral’s legal threats.
The organisation said it had been informed that Sanral had now begun to serve members of the public with letters of demand for outstanding debt. “We would like to highlight that letters of final demand should not be confused with a summons, as it is a low-commitment step that does not officially initiate legal proceedings,” said Outa.
“However, it is a process that the public can and should use in their favour to further challenge the irrational e-toll scheme.” The organisation’s chairperson, Wayne Duvenage, cited motorists who were paying, but the agency was failing to account to billing errors and queries.
“We have examples of motorists who have previously been compliant and eventually gave up due to the scheme’s failure to account for and manage their queries and billing errors raised on their invoices,” said Duvenage.
Duvenage said other motorists paying for the e-tolls had not received invoices in accordance with the scheme’s rules, while in other cases, incorrect bills were not removed from their accounts due to a cumbersome and ineffective dispute resolution mechanism.
“The showdown between the state and the people on the e-toll matter will continue to intensify until Sanral and their bosses realise the public will not bow down to their pressure,” said Duvenage.