First of all, we agree with your sentiment that citizens should be encouraged to report traffic offences. The Department of Transport has been running AARTO as a pilot and at an appropriate time they will reveal what they have learned from the pilot, as well as plans for a large-scale national implementation.
From our side as Sanral, we would like to clarify two things raised in your letter. The first thing is that we had to create a Violations Processing Centre as part of our enforcement strategy for Open Road Tolling (ORT). All successful ORT projects in the world need to be backed up by a sophisticated back-office system, which is an important step in the enforcement chain. In other words, people should be accurately billed so that they can pay for the benefits of using the road infrastructure and contribute to the maintenance of the infrastructure. That is the principle behind creating the Violations Processing Centre, a centralised office with the necessary systems to monitor offenders and assist law-enforcement officers to enforce the law as per Criminal Procedure Act.
The second point we would like to clarify relates to the process that Sanral will follow in the event of violation. The Sanral Act requires a road user to pay toll when passing a toll point. It is a road user’s legal responsibility to pay toll and not paying is, according to the Sanral Act, a criminal offence. At any other toll plaza in the country, payment takes place when passing through a toll plaza. On the Gauteng e-roads, there are signs at every off-ramp (exit) of the e-roads, providing details about the payment of tolls. These signs and the toll tariff signs, located along the Gauteng e-roads before the toll point, indicate that the road user has a seven-day grace period to pay the toll fee applicable to that toll point.
The administrative process that will be followed is as follows:
• Although the toll system is a pre-paid system, a road user has a seven-day grace period, from a gantry pass, to pay their e-toll transactions
• If the e-toll transaction is not paid within seven days, it is transferred to the Violations Processing Centre (the section of e-toll operations that deals with overdue toll amounts)
• Due to the user’s status as an Alternative User, discounts (e-tag, frequent user and time of day) are no longer applied and the Alternative Toll Tariff applies
• Transactions are rolled up and an invoice is issued to the road user
• A road user is then given an opportunity to settle their e-toll transactions and depending on the time within which the toll transactions are paid, post-Grace Period Discounts might apply
• During that time, a debt-collection process takes place
• Once it appears that the debt-collection process is unsuccessful, a Final Demand will be issued and the issue handed over to the prosecuting authority
• Prosecution will be done in terms of the Criminal Procedures Act and/or AARTO pending when and where it will be implemented. It should be noted that a large part of the process is automated, which helps to reduce the time taken to process these violations through the justice system.
In conclusion, we believe the majority of South Africans are law-abiding citizens who will obey the law. Unfortunately, some elements are trying very hard to encourage non-compliance which may result in users being faced with much higher tolls and exposure to legal action against them.
We highlight again whether a vehicle is registered and fitted with an e-tag, it was determined from the toll system that 10.1% will pay less than R200 a month and 82.83% of the users pay less than R100 a month. These users will also receive a R450 monthly toll cap.
Should you require further information in relation to e-tolls, please direct your email to email@example.com or call our dedicated e-toll customer call centre on 0800 726 725.
Vusi Mona General Manager: Communications (Sanral)