As many South Africans are still trying to get to grips with etolls on Gauteng’s freeways, the head of the company that manages the system on behalf of SANRAL, Electronic Toll Collection (ETC), has said that “on-road enforcement” could be brought into practice.
Which is essentially a threat to stop motorists with outstanding etoll bills.
According to BDLive, ETC CEO Jamie Surkont went on the record to say that “on-road enforcement” would be a “precursor to prosecution” for those that do not pay their toll fees. The Department of Transport published a Government Gazette two weeks ago in which they detailed the extension of the discount period for payment of outstanding etoll bills to 30 June 2014.
This also comes just days after SANRAL went to great lengths to deny claims that motorists were being stopped by Metro Police and threatened for not having etags.
Never one to stand on the sidelines regarding the etolls issue, Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) has issued a media statement about the possibility of impending enforcement saying “If this “on-road enforcement” is going to take place and target those with false, cloned, obscured, altered or missing number plates, that is one thing and it’s fully within the law. If however it is going to be used to stop those who have not paid etolls and “escort them to a customer service centre to pay” as has previously been mooted, then this will be fully illegal and tantamount to kidnapping and extortion.”
JPSA also had some strong words for Surkont, adding that his company should rather focus on running the system, and that he has no understanding of the criminal procedure act in South Africa. Private companies, the organisation rightly points out, have no business suggesting who the police should and shouldn’t stop.
“Whilst it may have become a tradition for private companies contracting to State institutions to threaten criminal prosecution – it is not their place to do so and Surkont calling this a “precursor to prosecution” is utter rubbish and shows his lack of understanding of the Criminal Procedure Act,” the JPSA statement continued. “ETC should stick to running the etolls system and sending out “unauthorised test emails” containing threats to motorists so Vusi Mona and company have something to deny and leave the Criminal Procedure Act and traffic policing to those who know how it works.”[Source – JPSA]