According to Sanral’s Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project manager Alex van Niekerk, this type of enforcement “relates to general enforcement functionality”, or in layman’s terms, stopping motorists who are summoned for not paying their e-toll bill, and asking them to pay up.
Sprinter vehicles – buses and small trucks – will be situated at on-ramps across Gauteng and will be fully equipped allowing for a faltering motorist to make the payment.
Half of the team handles law enforcement and is provided by the provincial government and the other half handles the administrative side which is contracted to Sanral.
The team accepts cash, debit and credit card payments at these mobile stations.
Van Niekerk explained this contingency plan to the Saturday Citizen during a visit to Sanral’s Electronic Toll Collection offices in in Centurion. The visit offered an inside peak into the agency’s Central Operations Centre (COC).
He explained that the On Road Law Enforcement would be branded with the e-toll logo, adding that motorists did not have to pay on the spot.
However, if a motorist continually did not pay their e-tolls, legal action would be taken.
The vehicles have a camera which identifies number plates and checks for outstanding summons against the vehicle. The team would also be in direct contact with the COC.
This process allows identifying motorists who “are very far advanced in the enforcement process,” said Van Niekerk.
“That means there has been a summons.”
“The other part is to check for other infringements, check for road worthiness of vehicles, check for number plates and those types of things.”
Cloned number plates would not be an issue for Sanral, said Van Niekerk.
When vehicles pass an e-toll gantry, the system checks to verify if the e-tag corresponds with the number plate. If there is a misread, the vehicle is flagged and the COC will act to verify that the licence plate has not been cloned.
“We also do other automated processes where we know one vehicle cannot be at two places at the same time on the network.”
While touring the facility, the Saturday Citizen was told that speaking to Sanral employees was not allowed, as the workers fear being recognised and later intimidated.
There are three components to the COC. The first is the monitoring room or an operations centre where the 47 gantries and Sanral’s e-tag shops and kiosks are watched over on 10 mounted screens.
Then there is Sanral’s incident traffic management centre and this where, through CCTV cameras, the agency is able to detect traffic incidents as soon as it takes place.
“At that stage we activate incident management procedures,” said Van Niekerk.
Sanral’s Violation Processing Centre (VCP) is the third component used to catch motorists for unpaid e-tolls fees.
Van Niekerk explains that if payment is not made within the seven-day grace period, then the transaction is moved through to the VPC.
The VPC is used mainly to follow up accounts that have not been paid.
Like the actual COC it is also made up of different components. This includes creating and verifying invoices to be sent to motorists, as a call centre.
E-tolls are yet to commence in Gauteng and is currently dependent on President Jacob Zuma accenting the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill.