Over the weekend Sanral announced that the 60% discount offered to drivers who pay off their etoll arrears will officially kick in from today, but vocal opposition group to etolls, the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) has launched its own kind of campaign.
Called the ‘e-Toll Defence Umbrella’, it aims to give legal assistance to businesses and motorists who fear being personally prosecuted for not paying their bills.
“[It] is aimed at supporting the vast amount of businesses and members of the public who are afraid of individual prosecution for their resistance against the unjust policy of e-tolls. It aims to defend every case of e-toll prosecution within Outa’s contributing membership base, if any of their members were to be prosecuted for non-payment of e-tolls,” Outa explains on its website.
The provision of being helped through the system is that motorists become paying members of Outa, of which the membership fees will be used for legal costs.
But the organisation was quick to add that Outa can’t guarantee representation, and it will only be able to give assistance if sufficient funds have been contributed.
Nevertheless, Outa explained that the same tactics used to fight corruption, tax abuse and irrational tax policy can be used to as a defence against unjust prosecution, like etolls, which is what lead to the creation of Outa’s e-Toll Defence Umbrella.
While no one has ever been successfully prosecuted for not paying etolls (apart from one person, but their offences were many and more to do with fraud than non-payment of etoll fees), Outa is confident that it will be able to defend a court case.
“Outa has developed a significant base of evidence and is confident in their ability to successfully defend an e-toll non-compliance case, on various fronts. We know that this defence is significantly beyond the budget, time and abilities of businesses or individuals to carry if they are ever individually prosecuted, unless they are assisted by an organisation such as Outa”, it said.
As far as we can tell, there is no set amount for membership, as long as members make at least one contribution per month.[Image – CC by 2.0/Juergen Uch]