News that a Pretoria resident was told by licensing authorities that he could not renew his vehicle licence disc because of non-payment of outstanding e-tolls, is concerning. The Automobile Association (AA) is warning motorists that there is no requirement as yet to pay outstanding e-toll fees before renewing a vehicle licence disc.
The Association was commenting on reports that Pretoria advocate Mr Anton Boswel was told a warrant of arrest had been issued against him because of unpaid e-toll infringements and that, for this reason, he could not renew his vehicle licence disc. On further investigation Mr Boswel said he discovered that an outstanding traffic fine was the actual reason for the refusal and not outstanding e-toll fees.
“My concern is that people are told they can’t renew their discs because of outstanding e-toll fees but in fact it’s because of other reasons. How many people will simply go and pay their e-toll accounts without checking further just to get their licence discs? In my mind this amounts to intimidation,” said Mr Boswel.
“Regulations 25(7) and 59(2) of the National Road Traffic Act do not make provision for the withholding of licence discs for outstanding e-toll fees. Legislation that enables this action is still to be gazetted and we urge all motorists who have similar experiences to contact SANRAL immediately,” the AA said.
The proposal to withhold the issuing of vehicle licence discs forms part of a new hybrid funding model for e-tolls announced by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in Parliament in June. However, this proposal has yet to be promulgated and cannot be enforced before this is done.
The AA is opposed to the new measures, including the proposal that outstanding fees need to be paid before licence discs can be renewed.
“We believe this will lead to an increase in traffic on alternative routes in the province, and to an increase in the number of unlicensed vehicles on our roads as motorists cannot afford to pay outstanding e-toll fees or refuse to pay in protest against the system,” the Association added.
The AA said it stands by its earlier comments that ring-fencing a portion of the fuel levy is still the best funding model for e-tolls as this ensures the cost of the system is not increased by administration and collection costs.