Justice Project South Africa has noted the utterings of Mr Vusi Mona quoted in the Citizen Newspaper on Monday 21 July 2014 and the contents of the subsequent media release sent out by SANRAL on Tuesday 22 July 2014.
We shall not deal in detail with the childish and disparaging comments made by Mr Mona and SANRAL against Howard Dembovsky and Justice Project South Africa at this stage, save to say that we find it somewhat telling that they would choose to mount personal attacks instead of properly answering the allegations at hand. Obviously, our rights to address their utterings in the appropriate forum are, and remain strictly reserved.
Despite the unsubstantiated claims asserted in their media release, we remain resolute that SANRAL is indeed acting in contravention of the National Road Traffic Act and Regulations by fitting and using blue and/or blue and red flashing lights on their e-tolls branded vehicles which are operated by persons who, by their own assertions, are not law enforcement personnel, but civilians. We furthermore find the claims by SANRAL that “If they don’t, they operate illegally” (referring to the vehicles) to be preposterous, baseless and somewhat laughable, since there is no legislation prescribing that a Police, Municipal Police, Traffic Police or Military Police vehicle must have blue and/or red and blue flashing lights in order to operate “legally” except where such vehicles are operated in contravention of road traffic signs and/or the speed limit – only that they may have them fitted.
Regulation 176 of the National Road Traffic Act deals with the fitment of identification lamps and in particular, regulations 176(3)(a), 176(3)(b) and 176(3)(c) deal with and prohibit the fitment and use of blue and/or blue and red flashing lights on vehicles not operated by members of the South African Police Service, Municipal Police, Traffic Officers or the Military Police, regardless of in whose presence the said lights are operated.
It is somewhat interesting that SANRAL has chosen to reply to our letters of demand solely through the media by making statements and issuing a media release in reply to our formal communications with them while completely failing to respond in writing directly to us; setting forth their beliefs of why they feel that they are entitled to violate the National Road Traffic Act and Regulations.
We fully concur with their assertion that “It is not their opinion that matters but what the law says”, and we hereby redirect it straight back at them. Where legal opinions differ, the only remedy is to argue the matter before the Court and that is exactly what we will do.
We also wish to set the record straight and remind SANRAL and the public that despite their claims of having “won every challenge that has been taken to the courts of the country”, these claims are in fact untrue and HMKL 3 Investments (Pty) Ltd v SANRAL and others is just one example of a challenge they did not win. We furthermore remind SANRAL that JPSA has not to date been one of the parties that SANRAL has “won” any legal challenges against. At best, it is grossly misleading of SANRAL to suggest otherwise.
In light of the deadlock we are faced with and the facts that are in dispute, JPSA is left with no choice but to approach the Court for a decision on this matter and we will do so in due course.
National Chairman – Justice Project South Africa (NPC)