The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) has issued a ‘final warning’ that it plans to drag every person who hasn’t paid their e-tolls to court, The South African has reported.
The agency recently announced plans to divert R1.6 billion from its non-toll related funds to the toll road portfolio, in effect bailing out its own failed tolling system.
Sanral chairperson Roshan Morar urged Gauteng motorists to stop defaulting on e-toll payments, putting the total of outstanding debts at around R11 billion.
But while recouping that kind of amount is a tall order, Sanral has announced its intention of making sure all defaulters face the law.
The department of transport and Sanral are in a bit of a catch-22 regarding the tolling system – while it is a failure that is currently wasting money, removing the gantries would be massively expensive and would increase the organisation’s hefty debts.
Despite what has been widely considered the failure of the unpopular tolling system, Transport Minister Blade Nzimande made it clear recently on SABC news show On The Record that the system will not be scrapped.
“I want to be honest with you‚ we understand the public sentiment … but at the same time we have got another problem that many people do not want to deal with‚” he said.
“We owe an amount in today’s terms of R67bn. That’s the amount we owe on the building of these wonderful freeways. The issue is who is going to pay and how are we going to pay.”
Nzimande also revealed that only 24% of the more than 15,000 summonses issued to e-toll defaulters in the past three years had been served.
The minister also revealed that in the past two years, only R10.231 million was collected through legal processes, costing more than R4 million in legal fees in the process.