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MediaJPSA Media Releases

Previous media releases are available here.

JPSA MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ALL NEWS, CRIME & TRANSPORT EDITORS
DATE: 2014/07/25
SUBJECT: JPSA remains resolute that SANRAL is acting unlawfully

JOHANNESBURG – 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 mayhave them fitted.

Regulation 176 of the National Road Traffic Regulations 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.

JPSA MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ALL NEWS, CRIME & TRANSPORT EDITORS
DATE: 2014/07/21
SUBJECT: JMPD’s traffic fines budget highlights skewed focus and psychopathic tendencies

JOHANNESBURG – Justice Project South Africa has noted with utter disgust a report in the Times Newspaper of Monday 21 July stating that the JMPD have failed to meet their revenue target for the third consecutive quarter by “only” managing to collect R301 million of their  R452 million “budget” in the third quarter.

A collection rate of 70% for traffic fines in South Africa is unheard of and stands in stark contrast to 30% in the Western Cape and the 12.55% contained in the 2012/13 annual report of the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) which is responsible for the administration of infringement notices issued under the AARTO Act; under which the JMPD is one of the only two traffic authority jurisdictions that are supposed to be operating. 

Serious questions must therefore be asked as to why it would be that the collection rates reported by the JMPD and the RTIA differ so dramatically, in light of the fact that all AARTO infringement notices are supposed to be registered on eNaTIS and administered by the RTIA.  It is abundantly clear that a forensic audit between what the JMPD has collected and what they have paid across to the RTIA is urgently required and we again call upon Treasury and the Auditor General to commission a forensic audit as a matter of urgency.  JPSA suggested this to Treasury as far back as 2011, but our recommendations were ignored.

Furthermore, if this is a quarterly budget as suggested, then it is safe to say that the JMPD has budgeted R1.7 billion (R425 million X 4) income from traffic fines in a single year.  This in itself highlights and exposes the JMPD as being nothing more than revenue generation and collection mechanism for the City of Johannesburg, as opposed to being a traffic law enforcement agency involved in achieving law and order and road safety objectives on our roads.

By far, the vast majority of the JMPD’s “law-enforcement” efforts are focussed on erecting mobile speed cameras and hiding in the bushes, etc., and thereafter establishing roadblocks which cause gridlocked traffic in order for them to (often unlawfully) attain their reported 70% collection rate.

RoadblockOn Sunday 13 July 2014, the JMPD mounted simultaneous roadblocks which prevailed for six hours on the N1 North and South between Beyers Naude and Malibongwe Drives under the guise of enforcing traffic laws, including driving under the influence of alcohol wherein they managed to make no drink driving arrests whatsoever.  These roadblocks caused severe traffic disruption and caused innocent people caught up in them to incur substantial financial prejudice, including missing flights and paid for shows, etc.

It would appear that in the opinion of the JMPD, “the ends justify the means” and financial losses members of the public incur due to the JMPD’s unlawful actions are inconsequential, so long as it achieves its revenue targets.  JPSA is in the process of proving the JMPD’s thinking to be flawed and invites persons affected by the roadblocks of 13 July 2014 to contact us in order to recoup their losses from the JMPD.  Our website will soon supply details to affected parties on how to recoup their losses.

The JMPD have been allowed to continue to generate and chase revenues for the City of Johannesburg for more than long enough now and it is high time that they either shift their focus to ensuring law and order and saving lives on our roads, or be disbanded entirely.  Both they and the City of Johannesburg should be ashamed of their profiteering from death and injury on our roads, but instead they openly exhibit psychopathic tendencies in their insatiable love and pursuit of money.


JPSA MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ALL NEWS, CRIME & TRANSPORT EDITORS
DATE: 2014/07/18
SUBJECT: JPSA issues demand to SANRAL regarding e-tolls branded vehicles

JOHANNESBURG – Justice Project South Africa has noted and welcomes the announcement made by Minister of Transport, Ms Dipuo Peters this morning that no e-tolls prosecutions will proceed “whilst SANRAL’s billing systems are sorted out”.  This is a logical step in the right direction and will prevent the creation of the artificial criminals that would have been created by SANRAL if the NPA had proceeded with prosecutions and managed to convict people while the e-tolls review panel does its work.

It is however of major concern that despite the fact that SANRAL has publicly acknowledged that it “has no authority to enforce e-toll laws” SANRAL branded vehicles continue to be present at the roadblocks set up by the Gauteng Department of Community Safety (GDoCS).  According to SANRAL “their personnel are civilians who have no authority to stop any vehicle to enforce e-toll laws” and “e-toll vehicles (fitted with highly technical equipment) to identify registered e-toll users from those who are not.”

e-tolls branded vehicleThe SANRAL e-tolls branded vehicles (midi-buses, trucks and trailers) all bear the five pointed star of the GDoCS Gauteng Traffic Police and in the case of midi-buses and trucks, are fitted with blue flashing light bars and, presumably – sirens.  This in itself is tantamount to impersonation of a traffic officer (vehicle) and since SANRAL has now publicly admitted that it “has no authority to enforce e-toll laws”, all Gauteng Traffic Police branding, warning lamps and sirens MUST be removed from these vehicles forthwith.

 

In addition, all of the Ford Everest 4X4 vehicles supplied to GDoCS by SANRAL have Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) equipment linked to eNaTIS installed in them.  It is additionally not a legal requirement for any motor vehicle to have an e-tag and therefore there can be no justifiable reason or need for the SANRAL branded motor vehicles and trailers to be present at these roadblocks since all 49 gantries on the GFIP have electronic equipment to detect e-tags. It has long been the contention of JPSA that the presence of e-tolls branded vehicles at these roadblocks are nothing more than an intimidation tactic, but it is now crystal clear that the vehicles themselves are operating illegally and in violation of the National Road Traffic Act and Regulations.

In light of these facts JPSA has sent SANRAL and the Minister of Transport a letter demanding that SANRAL immediately cease operating their unlawful vehicles on public roads and refrains from deploying them to any future roadblocks mounted by the Gauteng Traffic Police.

This letter is available for viewing here (481kb).


JPSA MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ALL NEWS, CRIME & TRANSPORT EDITORS
DATE: 2014/07/16
SUBJECT: JMPD furnishes defective proof of authorisation from SAPS and admits to roadblock mismanagement

JOHANNESBURG – On Sunday 13 July 2014, the JMPD staged simultaneous roadblocks on the N1 North and South between Beyers Naude and Malibongwe Drives and vice versa for over six hours, which resulted in gridlocked traffic, plus significantly long delays and financial losses to innocent, law-abiding motorists.

Despite Justice Project South Africa requesting it be supplied with the authorisation in terms of Section 13(8) of the SA Police Service Act, 1995 the JMPD claimed to have on Sunday and receiving an assurance from Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar that it would be emailed or faxed to us by no later than Monday morning, the authorisation was not forthcoming until late on Tuesday 15 July.

On the face of it and bearing in mind that this document was only furnished to us more than two days after the fact; authorisation was granted and signed by Brigadier Sirkhot, the station commander at Honeydew Police Station, on Friday 11 July for the JMPD to conduct a roadblock from 07:00 to 15:00 (8 hours) on the "N1 NORTH AND MALIBONGEWE DRIVE, STRYDOM PARK”.

The applicable authorisation only lists the aforementioned site (N1 North) and makes no mention whatsoever of the “N1 South and Beyers Naude Drive” – the other site at which the JMPD set up a simultaneous roadblock.

When Howard Dembovsky spoke to Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar at around 16:00 on Tuesday 15 July, he specifically asked him to confirm how many pages the authorisation comprised of and was told “one”.  This has established beyond any reasonable doubt that whilst the JMPD may indeed have been authorised to mount a roadblock on the N1 NORTH, it was NOT authorised to do so on the N1 South on Sunday. 

This is a very serious violation of Section 14 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, which protects people from arbitrary search and cannot be taken lightly.

To crown it all, whilst participating in a live radio interview on Chai FM on Tuesday 15 July, Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar publicly acknowledged that “the people who commanded the roadblock did go wrong” and “the way the roadblock was conducted was not what should have happened”.  These admitted bungles led to the gridlocked traffic in both directions of one of Johannesburg’s busiest routes – on a day traditionally dedicated to families. (SoundCloud podcast here)

The defective authorisation, combined with this admission has opened the doors for claims against the City of Johannesburg from people who were financially prejudiced due to the inordinate delays caused by the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department in both directions and more seriously, with respect to the unlawful searches conducted on the N1 South. 

During the course of the interview, Minnaar added that affected people could contact the City of Johannesburg’s “claims department” however, as anyone who has ever dealt with the City of Johannesburg in relation to financial claims against the JMPD will attest; this “World Class African City” is notorious for its “hurry up and wait policy”.

There are still to this day a large number of motorists who have not been refunded for illegal traffic fines issued by the JMPD from 1 November 2008 to 11 February 2009, despite an undertaking by the JMPD at that time to make such refunds.

In light of this fact and these latest developments, JPSA has established a working relationship with legal practitioners to assist motorists to recoup monies due to them and will make an announcement on its website with respect how motorists may take advantage of this service by no later than the end of this week.

JPSA does however wish to commend Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar’s candour and preparedness to admit that the JMPD’s management is simply not what it should be on live radio.

Final operation "achievements" as reported by the JMPD

Item

Number

Number per Hour

Vehicles stopped & searched

3055

509

Stolen vehicles recovered

6

1

Unroadworthy vehicles found

7

1

Fines issued

169

28

Outstanding traffic fines collected

??

??

Total Offences Detected

182

30

Officers involved earning double time

??

??

Civilian employees involved

??

??

JMPD vehicles involved

??

??

PLEASE NOTE:

  1. Outstanding traffic fines issued in terms of the AARTO Act are dealt with by the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) and the JMPD has NO LEGAL STANDING to force payment thereof at a roadblock. Item 5 in the authorisation above is therefore extremely questionable, since the South African Police Service has NO JURISDICTION over AARTO.
  2. Absolutely ZERO arrests reported for driving under the influence of alcohol!

JPSA MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ALL NEWS, CRIME & TRANSPORT EDITORS
DATE: 2014/07/15
SUBJECT: NPA appointing  e-tolls prosecutors hardly surprising  

JOHANNESBURG – Reports to the effect that the National Prosecuting Authority has appointed prosecutors to proceed with prosecutions for the non-payment of e-tolls come as no surprise to JPSA.

SANRAL’s e-tolls “marketing strategy” has always involved a strong element of fear mongering by threatening people with criminal records and other life-changing consequences for resisting their unjust and unduly expensive system of e-tolling and simply cannot hope to get anywhere near to anything even remotely resembling “compliance” without it.

What is somewhat intriguing however is why it would be that the NPA would risk prosecuting people when Gauteng Premier, David Makhura’s so-called “panel of review on e-tolling” has just been announced to much fanfare and will only be concluding its report and handing it to the Minister of Transport on 30 November.  

Anyone who thought that SANRAL and the NPA would have any regard or respect for “due process” was clearly fooling themselves and this is precisely why JPSA greeted the announcement with CAUTIOUS optimism.  Both SANRAL and the NPA are now making a mockery of that process. 

South African laws apply to the “here and now” and not retrospectively - therefore, should people be prosecuted and convicted whilst the “panel of review on e-tolling” does its job and a conclusion be reached that e-tolling should be scrapped and replaced with another, efficient and less financially burdensome system of revenue generation; those convictions would stand.

Justice?Obviously, the prospect of being turned into artificial criminals by SANRAL and the NPA will have a skewing effect on any deliberations and assessments Makhura's “panel of review on e-tolling” conducts since people may indeed be phased by this latest scare tactic and rush off to pay their outstanding e-tolls in order to avoid prosecution.  However, what doesn’t seem to have been considered is that there is a significantly large contingent of people who are not joking around about refusing to pay e-tolls and are prepared to face the consequences and/or simply cannot afford the outrageous sums of money SANRAL demands from them.

As things stand, there are well over 1 million people who are going to have to be prosecuted and two prosecutors, operating in the already overburdened South African criminal justice courts system don’t stand any chance of making a significant dent in this figure.

The SANRAL strategy of prosecuting e-toll defaulters/detractors in criminal courts relies heavily on convictions being attained by the NPA and since South Africa does still have a Constitution and functional courts; convictions for this “offence” are NOT a foregone conclusion.  

On Thursday 10 July, OUTA announced its “Rule of Law” campaign and JPSA publicly announced its support of the campaign.  We did not do so to gain publicity; we did so because we genuinely believe that a properly thought out and mounted criminal defence will lead to the acquittal of those accused of this so-called “crime”.  We therefore urge anyone summonsed by the NPA to approach OUTA the second that they receive summonses.

JPSA MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ALL NEWS, CRIME & TRANSPORT EDITORS
DATE: 2014/07/14
SUBJECT: Roadblocks on N1 North & South on Sunday 13 July abusive & apparently illegal

JOHANNESBURG – On Sunday 13 July 2014, the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) staged a roadblock on the N1 motorway between Beyers Naude Drive and Malibongwe Drive and vice versa in both directions on the motorway.

On learning about the gridlock caused in both directions – which led to unacceptably long delays of motorists travelling on the motorway, Justice Project South Africa made contact with Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar to request a copy of the authorisation for this roadblock issued in terms of Section 13(8) of the South African Police Service Act, 1995.  In terms of this provision, the National or Provincial Commissioner may authorise roadblocks which infringe on the Constitution, in order to facilitate legitimate law enforcement exercises.

We were told by Minnaar that written authorisation had indeed been obtained from General Reddy; a SAPS Gauteng Cluster Commander stationed at Honeydew Police Station, but despite Minnaar’s undertaking to email the relevant authorisations to us, by 10:00 on Monday 14 July 2014, no such proof of the existence of these alleged authorisations have been forthcoming.

N1 N & S RoadblockIt was reported on the ANN7 News at 19:00 bulletin that this exercise, which lasted for and disrupted the free flow of traffic in both directions on the motorway for some six hours managed to net a whole “2 stolen motor vehicles, 7 unroadworthy motor vehicles, dozens of fines for vehicles with no number plates and dozens of fines for unlicensed motor vehicles”.  It apparently did not yield a single driver under the influence of alcohol, any fraudulent driving licences, etc.

In the same bulletin, Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar stated that “in terms of Section 113(8) of the South African Police Act [sic] authorisation was obtained…”  We point out that the South African Police Service Act, 1995 comprises 73 sections and therefore does not have a “Section 113(8)”.

JPSA has received complaints from numerous motorists who were caught up in the resulting traffic jams on one of Johannesburg’s busiest routes, some of whom were women travelling with small children and elderly people, Private Emergency Management Services including paramedics and others who despite being delayed for periods in excess of an hour were not stopped once they reached the officers manning these roadblocks.

The costs of mounting these exercises must have been enormous, considering the amount of JMPD personnel involved in them, the fact that they were mounted on a Sunday and overtime pay would have had to be paid to all of the officers concerned.  The costs incurred by innocent motorists caught up in these exercises are immeasurable considering the volume of traffic caught up in them.

It is arguable that the same, or better results could have been achieved by the JMPD had it simply mounted a proper moving violation enforcement exercise involving the same number of officers and JMPD vehicles.

JPSA has lodged a complaint with JMPD Chief of Police, Zwelibanzi Nyanda through his Chief of Staff, Director Gerrie Gerneke and has copied its complaint to SAPS Gauteng Provincial Commissioner, General Mothiba, the Minister of Transport, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), the Public Protector and the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA).  Further formal complaints are also being lodged with IPID and the office of the Public Protector.

JPSA has demanded that the JMPD provide a written undertaking to cease mounting roadblocks that are not properly and lawfully authorised by the National or Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service, failing which it will approach the High Court for remedy. 

We have also demanded that the JMPD issue a directive to their officers instructing them to refrain from threatening motorists who have outstanding AARTO infringement notices with arrest, since the AARTO Act does not cater for Warrants of Arrest for unpaid traffic fines, but contains other legislated mechanisms to deal with them.

It is our contention that the roadblocks set up on Sunday 13 July 2014 and other roadblocks set up by the JMPD on a daily basis whereat they only stop motorists who have outstanding traffic fines, but delay innocent, law-abiding motorists in the process are both, abusive and unlawful and constitute a direct contravention of Section 21 of the Constitution which guarantees freedom of movement.

JPSA has no problem whatsoever with and regularly encourages and applauds legitimate law enforcement operations but strongly objects to the abusive manner in which the JMPD generally exercises its powers, to the detriment of law-abiding motorists.  We find such behaviour repugnant in sense of the word and consider it to be severely detrimental to legitimate law enforcement exercises and agencies.

Our letter of complaint to the JMPD can be viewed here.


JPSA MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ALL NEWS, CRIME & TRANSPORT EDITORS
DATE: 2014/07/04
SUBJECT: Anti e-toll banner protesters manhandled by SANRAL staff

Hoot Against e-tollsJOHANNESBURG – Small groups of people draping anti e-toll banners over bridges under which the GFIP e-toll roads pass have become a regular sight in Johannesburg of late and up until this morning, all of these peaceful and benign protests which have met with mass public support have been incident free.

At approximately 07:50 this morning, a small group of anti e-toll protesters gathered outside the SANRAL customer service centre at the BP Oasis on the N1 South at Beyers Naude drive to take a photograph of themselves holding the banner that they had been displaying on the bridge over the N1 freeway earlier.

Suddenly and without warning, a group of SANRAL employees came storming out of the building  and started grabbing at the banner, pushing protesters around and shouting at them that they are “not allowed to do that” outside SANRAL’s premises. 

The SANRAL employees pushed protesters, manhandled women and grabbed at their banner in a short scuffle that broke out and this led to an exchange of angry words.  Thankfully, the protesters did not respond violently and male protesters simply positioned themselves between the SANRAL employees and the female protesters to prevent further manhandling.  Shortly thereafter, the protesters left.

Section 17 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa holds that “Everyone has the right, peacefully and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions” and it is not necessary for small groups of persons to “apply for permission” to exercise their constitutional right to picket.  Furthermore, no person other than a police officer above the rank of warrant officer is authorised to order any gathering to disperse and indeed, use physical force to disperse picketers.

The SANRAL customer service centres are not national key points and therefore it is not against any law for people to take photographs outside their offices and the way in which SANRAL employees reacted is little short of disgusting.

JPSA was not involved in this protest however; we condemn the heavy-handed tactics used by SANRAL employees against these peaceful protesters in the strongest possible terms.  No-one, including SANRAL employees, has the right to take the law into their own hands and should they have wished to disperse the protesters, all they had to do was call the police.

Two of the women who were manhandled by SANRAL employees have laid charges of assault common against the people concerned.


JPSA MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ALL NEWS, CRIME & TRANSPORT EDITORS
DATE: 2014/06/27
SUBJECT: JPSA cautiously welcomes opening of dialogue on e-tolls

JOHANNESBURG – Justice Project South Africa welcomes the announcement by the Gauteng Premier, Mr David Makhura to establish a panel to review e-tolling on Gauteng’s freeways, thereby establishing what could possibly be the FIRST REAL platform for dialogue on the matter. We do so with a degree of “cautious optimism” due to the fact that this is not the first time that such a panel has been established and the last time this was done through the inter-ministerial committee, absolutely no blind notice was taken of any inputs civil society tried to make. 

In addition, in 2011 a “Steering Committee” which was in reality, just a talk shop run by the very people who created the problem in the first place was established in order to call the tune to civil society.  Any “review panel” that is established this time around MUST be representative of civil society, not just comprised of a bunch of politicians, bureaucrats and companies whose financial future is dependent on e-tolling continuing.

We also point out that whilst this panel is to be established, there has been no announcement as to when it will be established and/or how long it will take for this panel to “find lasting solutions” it purports to be seeking. 

In the meantime, there is a looming serious matter which will cause irreparable harm to persons who have not and/or cannot pay e-tolls insofar as the so-called “discount extension” announced in Government Gazette 37637 of 12 May 2014 comes to an end on Monday 30 June 2014.  It has been mooted that once it has come to an end SANRAL will embark on prosecutions of “offenders” through the National Prosecuting authority and Premier David Makhura has said “if you don’t pay your e-tolls, you don’t have my sympathy”, which does not instil confidence.

Spokespeople for SANRAL and Electronic Toll Collection (Pty) Ltd have been vociferous in their threats of criminalising citizens for the non-payment of e-tolls, with ETC’s Jamie Surkont even going so far as to state that “special treatment” will be applied to those who have told his staff where to get off when they are phoned by call centre agents.

“In our view, unless a serious and decisive intervention takes place NOW, the SANRAL runaway train will continue to head on a collision course with citizens whilst the panel fiddles about being established and seeking solutions,” said Howard Dembovsky.  “Again we see a situation developing where the question of ‘unscrambling an egg’ will arise AFTER harm has been done and overturning criminal convictions certainly cannot be described as an easy thing to do, if indeed the courts see fit to convict people accused by SANRAL,” he continued.

We need to highlight that JPSA is NOT opposed to a true dialogue finally being opened up.  We are merely pointing out that this so-called “National Law and Policy” is currently in force in Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Pretoria at this stage and if urgent interventions are not made at a national level, irreparable harm is going to be caused by the dogmatism and arrogance of SANRAL and their business partners.

We do however have to say that why it is felt that taxpayers’ money has to be wasted on yet another “panel of enquiry” is beyond us.  The most obvious and “lasting solution” is to scrap urban tolling (e-tolls) entirely now – before the non-payment thereof creates an even bigger mess than it has already, and to implement an efficient, ring-fenced and financially inexpensive provincial fuel levy.  A national RING-FENCED roads levy could also be implemented on the fuel pump price with little effort or overheads and mitigate the current plundering of the existing fuel levy for purposes other than roads.

SANRAL RoadblockThe daily, prolific roadblocks set up by the Gauteng Department of Community Safety all around the GFIP whereat SANRAL e-tolls vans and trucks accompany these roadblocks do nothing to allay the fears of motorists that they will be intimidated at gunpoint to buckle under the pressure.  In our view, these roadblocks should be halted immediately, or at the very least have the SANRAL e-tolls branded vehicles excluded from them as they are causing unwarranted panic and speculation.

 

 


JPSA MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ALL NEWS, CRIME & TRANSPORT EDITORS
DATE: 2014/06/18
SUBJECT: JPSA offers clarity on “e-tolls roadblocks”

JOHANNESBURG – There has been much ado and a proliferation of rumours surrounding the prolific, daily roadblocks that have been set up by the Gauteng Department of Community Safety – in conjunction with SANRAL of late but despite some coverage having taken place in the media, rumours and panic continues to abound.

JPSA continues to get panicked phone calls, emails and tweets about these roadblocks from terrified motorists – some of whom have chosen to defy the unjust and arguably, unlawful introduction of e-tolling in the limited areas of Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Tshwane.

In the interests of disseminating factual information and combatting both, rumours and acts of intimidation and/or corruption, JPSA has authored a comprehensive web page dealing with this topic which is available at www.jp-sa.org/rb and offers practical advice as well as the facts surrounding these prolific roadblocks.

Media enquiries may be made directly to Howard Dembovsky but we respectfully request only the web page address is published in printed and online media due to the proliferation of hoax emails and social media postings that cause our lines to ring off the hook.

JPSA MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ALL NEWS, CRIME & TRANSPORT EDITORS
DATE: 2014/06/15
SUBJECT: Confusing messages around e-tolls unhelpful - JPSA

JOHANNESBURG – An article that appeared in the Sunday Independent on Sunday 15 June has highlighted the monumentally irrational line of thinking being adopted with respect to e-tolling.  Despite Transport MEC, Ismail Vadi publicly acknowledging “We are taking a second look at the matter”, he went further to say “There will be no review of phase one of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project. Those are fantastic highways which have done wonders in easing traffic congestion but for phase two we will look at our options.”

How Mr Vadi can now say that “There is still dissatisfaction with the funding model. We are taking a second look at the matter” and “there are also discussions about a provincial fuel levy or a provincial tax” when these options were categorically rejected “because the fuel levy cannot be ring-fenced” according to Treasury during the so-called “consultations” held by SANRAL and Government in 2012 and prior to that is completely beyond us.

“They are now acknowledging that they not only lied to the public then, but that they took no heed of any of the alternative funding models that were put to them in those so-called ‘consultations’,” said Howard Dembovsky – Chairman of Justice Project South Africa.

“No-one is denying that the roads on the GFIP are ‘fantastic highways’ but we must bear in mind that the vehicle population of the entire country as at 31 December 1970 was 2 121 227 (motorised and trailers).  As at 31 December 2013, Gauteng alone had 3 087 711 vehicles while South Africa’s vehicle population had grown by almost 9 million (8 851 574) to 10 972 801.  What kind of fool would have believed that no upgrades would be necessary over the 43 years since the William Nicol on/off-ramp was constructed?” he continued.

If e-tolling is to be scrapped as a means of financing road upgrades in other phases of the “Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project” and elsewhere, then why are SANRAL and government being so pig-headed about retaining it for phase 1?  The outstanding, uncollected debt with respect to e-tolls was R493 million as at 28 February 2014 (R543 million less the R50 million collected) and since then, no update on this figure has been forthcoming.  This is probably because that figure is easily double by now, but the excuse SANRAL is using is that they are undergoing an annual audit.

This article is also the clearest indication that e-tolling will most likely NOT be rolled out to the rest of South Africa, let alone Gauteng, but will be left in place in Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Tshwane where residents have become used to having National Policy and legislation being  thrust only on parts of Gauteng.  Another such example is the AARTO Act, which despite turning 16 years old in September this year has not been rolled out beyond the jurisdictions of the JMPD and TMPD.

SANRAL RoadblockRemaining dogmatic about e-tolling on the GFIP while claiming that “the Gauteng government has heeded the dissatisfaction of motorists” is a complete contradiction and can only be termed as constituting utter hogwash.  If the Gauteng and National Government gave two hoots about how motorists felt, they would not continue to attempt to plunge Gauteng into a recession by making it ridiculously expensive to get around.

There is no shame in admitting that one has made a mistake and taking steps to put that mistake right, but there is huge shame in seeking to criminalise the motorists of three of South Africa’s cities who simply cannot afford to have e-tolls added to their already high financial burden.  This is exactly what SANRAL, the Gauteng and National Government intends doing in the very near future and their prolific roadblocks with e-tolls trucks at them right now, acting as a “precursor to enforcement/prosecution” bears glaring testimony to this.


JPSA MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ALL NEWS, CRIME & TRANSPORT EDITORS
DATE: 2014/06/12
SUBJECT: Inconsistencies in traffic enforcement and road safety responsible for carnage

JOHANNESBURG – The latest round of calls and actions by two transport MECs has dramatically highlighted the total lack of consistency in road traffic enforcement and road safety policies in South Africa.

Willies MchunuOn Friday June 6 2014, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Mr Willies Mchunu was reported as saying that he is engaging with Transport Minister, Dipuo Peters to send traffic offenders to jail.  His rationale is reportedly that “They commit an offence, you fine them and they pay.  They commit another offence, you fine them and they pay. Now we have to make it painful for them.”

This comes in spite of the fact that the eThekwini (Durban) Metropolitan Police Department has recently started registering criminal records against the names of people who are issued with a summons and pay an admission of guilt fine – which is a provision contained in Section 57 of the apartheid-era Criminal Procedure Act, 51 of 1977 and there are few things more "painful" than a criminal record.

Donald GrantHot on the heels of KZN, the Transport MEC for the Western Cape, Mr Donald Grant has announced that traffic fines in that province will be tripled with effect from 1 August 2014; stating that “death due to reckless driving had to come to an end on provincial roads” in an article which appeared in The Argus of 11 June.

In the same article, Western Cape Traffic Chief, Kenny Africa stated that 33 percent of traffic fines are collected; thereby giving a far better indication of why it is that the Western Cape has decided to triple its fine penalty amounts.  The Western Cape does not however impose criminal records on those who pay admission of guilt fines on summonses.

The AARTO Act, for all of its ills of poor drafting and improper implementation; decriminalises most road traffic infringements and seeks to rather address the significant problems we have on South Africa’s roads by implementing a points-demerit system.  It is a NATIONAL LAW that was enacted in 1998 and to date has only been implemented – minus the points-demerit system – in two jurisdictions – those of the Johannesburg and Tshwane Metropolitan Police Departments.  This year, the AARTO Act will be 16 years old and it is still no closer to being rectified and rolled out nationally.

Inconsistencies in traffic law enforcement, the penalties associated therewith and the various provincial and local policies that exist to preside over a national problem are most certainly contributing to the carnage on our roads – as opposed to combatting it.  South Africa desperately needs a national policy with legislated penalties and interventions; including remedial programmes if we are to stand any chance whatsoever of tackling the real problems at hand and reducing road carnage – and the AARTO Act is capable of providing exactly that.

Confusing people by implementing different policies and penalties in different provinces which tend to like to believe that South Africa is a Federation of independent States, rather than one country is completely irrational, nonsensical and bizarre, not to mention unconstitutional.  It is long past time that the National Department of Transport stood up and took ownership of the problem and stops allowing provinces and local municipalities to call the tune, profiteer out of road traffic offences and introduce draconian measures at will.  If it doesn’t, nothing is going to change, except possibly that the situation will continue to worsen and people will continue to die and be injured at an alarming rate.


JPSA MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ALL NEWS, CRIME & TRANSPORT EDITORS
DATE: 2014/06/03
SUBJECT: “SANRAL” roadblocks create mass panic

JOHANNESBURG – Roadblocks set up by Gauteng Department of Community Safety officers contracted to SANRAL and using SANRAL-branded e-tolls trucks in multiple locations around the GFIP today have caused a flood of enquiries to come into JPSA.

At first we assumed that these roadblocks were merely being used to check for false, cloned, altered, obscured and missing number plates as would be consistent with proper physical visible policing, however it has now come to our attention that people with no defects to their vehicles have been stopped at the roadblock set up at Atlas Road and asked:

There is NO REQUIREMENT for any person to have an e-tag in any law and even SANRAL’s spokesperson, Vusi Mona and others have confirmed this. 

SANRAL RoadblockJPSA has been in touch with a senior officer from the Gauteng Department of Community Safety, Gauteng Traffic Police seconded to SANRAL to ascertain the truth about what is going on at these roadblocks and has been assured that all of the exercises in the Northern parts of Johannesburg and Pretoria are purely looking for defective number plates, licence discs and other vehicle/driver defects.  We have lodged a complaint with respect to what allegedly happened at Atlas Road and will be forwarding motorists’ complaints to GDoCS for action.  That roadblock packed up and left at around 13:15.

Unfortunately, the presence of SANRAL’s heavily branded orange e-tolls trucks at all of these exercises has created what can only be described as a “mass panic” amongst motorists, many of whom have assumed that they are there to enforce outstanding e-tolls.  SANRAL has repeatedly engaged in propaganda and intimidation exercises in order to try to force motorists to get e-tags and register with them and it would be naïve at best to think that they would not take full advantage of the psychological effect it can have on motorists by having these trucks accompany legitimate law enforcement exercises. 

The facts of the matter are however very different to what people would assume they are and staging while such exercises may indeed have the effect of making some people rush off to get tagged so as not to be caught up in these exercises at this stage, there is no cause for panic.  Getting an e-tag is a personal choice that may be exercised by any motorist, but it is NOT a legal requirement in order to drive on the Gauteng e-toll highways, not “freeways” as SANRAL calls them.

JPSA has no problem whatsoever with traffic police enforcing general traffic laws and checking vehicle and driver fitness, however if people are to be intimidated by asking them about requirements that don’t exist, then we do have a problem and will take the appropriate action, just as we have done today.


JPSA MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ALL NEWS, CRIME & TRANSPORT EDITORS
DATE: 2014/05/29
SUBJECT: Metro cops should not escape criminal charges

JOHANNESBURG – Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) is extremely concerned by a SAPA report wherein two Metro Policemen in the employ of the Tshwane Metropolitan Police Department have allegedly been caught red-handed soliciting and accepting bribes by a TMPD investigator – only for them to face internal disciplinary charges with allegedly no criminal charges having been brought.

The officers involved in soliciting/taking the bribes could face up to life imprisonment if their matter was to be heard before the High Court, 18 years if it was heard in a Regional Court, or five years if it was heard in a Magistrates Court; but only if criminal charges are brought against them.  The monetary value of the bribes solicited should have little bearing on the matter, given the other serious backlashes their soliciting bribes have.

Blood MoneyBribery and corruption in terms of traffic policing has an additional detrimental effect on any efforts in the interests of promoting road safety and reducing road carnage in South Africa and goes a long way to explaining why at least 14,000 people die on our roads each year, whilst at least TEN TIMES as many are injured annually.  Motorists who commit traffic offences and simply pay bribes in order to avoid prosecution present a serious danger on our roads, particularly where they are under the influence of alcohol.

While Metro Police and Traffic Departments continue to hold their own little internal disciplinary hearings – many of which lead to the mere dismissal of the officers concerned, with no universally accessible register of offenders existing – traffic officers found guilty by these hearings will simply continue to move onto another traffic authority and pick up where they left off; as if nothing has happened.

A clear message urgently needs to be sent to corrupt cops and in our opinion the NPA, Department of Justice and others should be sending this message to these people by prosecuting such matters in the High Court where the judiciary can hand down “harsh” sentences and make an example of these criminals with badges and guns who think it is okay to solicit bribes and engage in extortion.

South Africa has a serious problem with corruption and extortion being practiced by law enforcement officials and in particular, traffic officers and Metro Policemen are notorious for these activities.  This is specifically true because they operate in somewhat isolated environments where the commission of the crime is relatively easy and few, if any witnesses to their crimes of extortion and corruption exist.  Furthermore, the only other party to such a crime is also considered to have committed a criminal offence – just like the officer who solicited the bribe.

There is nothing to prevent internal disciplinary charges being pursued by Metro Police Departments, etc. however such processes should in fact be considered to be pursued in addition to criminal charges – not the other way around.

While it may seem somewhat “unfair”, members of the public who are caught paying bribes to cops should also be charged, convicted and imprisoned in order to send the right message to the public and thereby shut down the supply which gives rise to such a high demand for bribes.  This needs to be handled correctly however and only those members of the public who offer bribes up front should be affected since the extortion component in bribe solicitation presents a “Hobson’s choice” to many truly frightened motorists.

Alarmingly however, in spite of the existence of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act for more than 10 years now (date of commencement 27 April 2004), little or nothing has been done to prevent and/or combat corruption – particularly when it comes to corrupt activities committed by traffic enforcers who also contribute to the road carnage in South Africa.

The question must therefore be asked “how serious are we about combatting corruption and saving lives on South African roads?” and unfortunately, the answer is quite simple: “We are not serious about it at all”. 

Statutes that are enacted and not enforced to the letter of the law are about as much use as a cart with square wheels and talking about combatting corruption serves no purpose if those statutes remain in moth-balls while Metro Police departments conduct their own hearings to avoid falling foul of Unions and simply appear to be doing something about the scourge.

Footnote:

The fact that the Metro Police investigator who caught these corrupt officers is essentially a policeman in terms of the South African Police Service Act does not excuse him from the provisions of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act – nor does it exempt any Metro Police Department established under the South African Police Service Act from the provisions of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.

Section 34 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, 2003 (Act 12 of 2004) is very specific in requiring any person who holds a position of authority and knows or should have reasonably known that any other person has committed an offence in terms of the Act who does not report such a matter to Police shall be guilty of an offence.  The Act makes provision for fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years for conviction of this offence in a Magistrates Court or a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years if it is heard by the High Court.

JPSA MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ALL NEWS, CRIME & TRANSPORT EDITORS
DATE: 2014/05/26
SUBJECT: CEO of a private company threatens “on-road enforcement” over e-tolls

JOHANNESBURG – Exactly two weeks after the Department of Transport published a Government Gazette extending “discounts” on e-tolls to 30 June, the CEO of Electronic Toll Collection (ETC), the firm that runs the South African National Roads Agency’s (SANRAL) Gauteng e-toll system, Jamie Surkont has allegedly levelled threats of “on-road enforcement” over e-tolls, calling it a “precursor to prosecution”.

This also comes just days after SANRAL went to great lengths to deny claims that motorists were being stopped by Metro Police and taken to task for not having e-tags.

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.  It would also be fully within the law to issue fines for missing licence discs and arrest persons who have a fraudulent licence disc, fraudulent number plates or no number plates provided that where there are no number plates – the motor vehicle is not a motorcycle.  The AARTO Act contains charges for:

  1. Motor vehicles other than motorcycles and trailers that only display 1 number plate – R500 fine (charge code 1210);
  2. Motor vehicles other than motorcycles and trailers that have no number plates – Arrest and prosecution in court (charge code 1211);
  3. Motorcycles that have no number plate – R500 fine (charge code 1231); and
  4. Trailers that have no number plate – R500 fine (charge code 1232).
  5. Failing to affix a licence disc carries a R500 fine; and
  6. Affixing a fraudulent licence disc is a criminal offence where arrest and prosecution in court will follow.

If however it is going to be used to stop those who have not paid e-tolls 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. 

Traffic Officers may indeed serve a summons in terms of Section 54 of the Criminal Procedure Act on the person driving the vehicle but they will have to make certain that:

  1. That person is the registered owner cited in a “rollup” summons; and
  2. The court date cited on the summons is no less than 14 days away (Sundays and public holidays excluded).

They MAY NOT:

  1. Issue and serve such summons on the driver of the vehicle who is not the specific person cited in that summons;
  2. Detain the driver until such time as the person cited in the summons comes to be served the summons;
  3. Issue a summons in terms of Section 56 of the Criminal Procedure Act on the driver citing driving on the freeway on the day they stop them since they have seven days to pay; or
  4. Arrest anyone without a lawful Warrant of Arrest.

Stopping motor vehicles that have outstanding e-tolls against the licence number will be a hit or miss situation since a large proportion of vehicles are driven by people other than the registered owner.

Cuffing gone wildWhilst 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.  ETC should stick to running the e-tolls 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.

Bemoaning the eNaTIS registry as being “inaccurate” when legislative amendments were drafted and put out for public comment on 8 June 2012 (Government Gazette 35413 – Notice 458 of 2012) wherein regulation 32A was to be inserted into the National Road Traffic Regulations, requiring vehicle owners to provide proof of residence with licensing transactions is somewhat disingenuous. 

The Department of Transport has had almost two years to proclaim this provision and to date, it has not done so.  Instead, it forged ahead with e-tolling and the legislation surrounding it, knowing full well that eNaTIS is a mess.  Perhaps it did so because it either thought everyone would buy into e-tolling and get tagged, or perhaps it thought that threats of stopping people on freeways and escorting them to “customer service centres to pay” would scare people sufficiently.  Whatever their thoughts process was, the fact remains that this amendment could have already been in force for more than 18 months now and yet, they have chosen bullying over a practical solution. 

This says a lot for the ethos of both, the Department of Transport and SANRAL.  The fact remains however that if these “on-road enforcement” exercises deviate just a little from the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Act, the Gauteng Department of Community Safety, The Gauteng Provincial Government, SANRAL, the Department of Transport and ETC are all going to be sued blind by motorists who are abused by them. 

It must be noted that JPSA and others warned SANRAL that the eNaTIS registry is a mess a long, long time before e-tolling commenced and Nazir Alli and others chose to poo-poo us in no uncertain terms.  Just like when we warned them about the eNaTIS mess at that time, we are warning them about the massive civil claims they risk incurring if they proceed with their poorly thought out “on-road enforcement” exercises.  We have been proven right about our assertions on the eNaTIS issue and we will be proven right on the “on-road enforcement” exercises if SANRAL and others choose to again ignore our warnings.  Trust us when we say that we will do everything we can to ensure that they do get sued blind if the deviate from the law.

Members of the public are warned that paying an admission of guilt fine on a summons issued in terms of Section 54 or Section 56 of the Criminal Procedure Act is equivalent to pleading or being found guilty of the offence in court and will incur a criminal record for them.  JPSA issued an advisory in this regard on 28 March 2014 because people are under the false impression that these are mere traffic fines and paying them is both, the right thing to do and a time-saving option available to them.  At best, this is a very foolish thing to do if anyone intends applying for a travel visa or a job.

Clearly, there are people who are of the opinion that it is far more important to enforce e-tolls legislation than it is to enforce other road traffic laws which, when disobeyed, lead to the death or serious injury of hundreds of thousands of people on an annual basis in South Africa.  According to the RTMC, approximately 14,000 are killed and according to the Road Accident Fund, more than ten times that many are injured on our roads annually.

It is clear that another “cash cow” other than speeding has been identified for so-called traffic enforcement authorities in South Africa and those injured and/or killed on our roads are nothing more than “collateral damage” in the pursuit of money from motorists.

JPSA MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ALL NEWS, CRIME & TRANSPORT EDITORS
DATE: 2014/05/23
SUBJECT: e-Tolls to remain Gauteng’s problem – despite “National Government Policy”

JOHANNESBURG – On Friday 23 May, 2014 the Minister of Transport revealed that “no decision has been taken to introduce the e-tolling system in KwaZulu-Natal”.  This comes after media reports announcing the introduction of e-tags in KwaZulu-Natal was to commence and people jumped to incorrect conclusions that this meant that e-tolls, or “Open Road Tolling” would be introduced there.

Reassurances were also extended to those in the North West province by the Minister and she reportedly said “We are currently focused on resolving some of the challenges emanating from the introduction of electronic tolling in some parts of the Gauteng province. SANRAL and the service provider responsible for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project should continue to focus on resolving these current challenges.”

The introduction of e-tag enabled boomed lanes on traditional toll roads, whilst possibly being a new convenience concept for KwaZulu-Natal is not new at all and has been in use on such toll roads as the Bakwena toll concession operated on the N1 and N4 for many years.  Only recently were users of e-tag enabled lanes on these routes not so politely told that their e-tags would become active on the GFIP, regardless of whether they wanted them to or not.

Effectively, e-tags used for dedicated, boomed lanes at traditional toll plazas have therefore become a precursor to e-tolling on what is termed “Open Road Tolling” projects like the “some users pay principle” on the GFIP.

It must be remembered that the Courts have been told that the “user pays principle” as well as e-tolling is “National Government Policy” and therefore, the courts have deemed that they may not interfere in Government policy.  However, it is abundantly clear that – far from being national policy, government is doing everything it can to reassure road users in other provinces that they will not become victims of what has been forced on Gauteng.

While it is indeed prudent for proper, meaningful public consultation to take place in other provinces and all other possible alternatives to be considered, the question must be asked why it is that Gauteng should be the only “lab rat” to be abused and prejudiced by e-tolling of urban freeways.

There can be little doubt that affected parties in other provinces will be far more eager to participate in public consultations with SANRAL with respect to e-tolling their urban roads, but if their experience is even remotely similar to what happened in Gauteng, it is questionable whether any blind notice will be taken of their inputs.

We don’t say this lightly, given the track record of SANRAL, which is very good at reading the riot act to people and making autocratic decisions, but lacks the capacity and willingness to listen to any voice/s other than its own.

Whether the “challenges emanating from the introduction of electronic tolling in some parts of the Gauteng province”, namely Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Tshwane can in fact be resolved or not remains to be seen.  There is no getting away from the fact that whilst it is possible for people to alter or obscure their number plates, affix cloned or false number plates, remove their number plates entirely, or indeed – simply not pay, “Open Road Tolling” is and will remain a “some users pay principle”.  This is without even contemplating vehicles that cross our borders from bordering countries – whose owners/drivers will most certainly not be extradited to stand trial for not paying e-tolls.

e-theifAt some stage or another, both SANRAL and the Department of Transport are going to have to stop using Gauteng motorists as lab rats and face the fact that e-tolling is simply not suitable for our environment and that there are other, way more efficient methods of securing funding for roads infrastructure.  Simply saying that the fuel levy cannot be ring-fenced is a copout, given the fact that the abuse of funds from the fuel levy originated in the 1970’s when they were used to fund the illegal occupation of Namibia and the Angolan War.

One seriously has to wonder why it is that government seems to have corrected some of the wrongs of the apartheid era, while retaining other policies and wrongs which are apparently convenient to it and misusing the fuel levy is far from the only example of this remarkable phenomenon.


JPSA MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ALL NEWS, CRIME & TRANSPORT EDITORS
DATE: 2014/05/16
SUBJECT: e-Toll Discounts and Startling Revelations by Vusi Mona

JOHANNESBURG – On Monday 12 May 2014, the Acting Director-General of the Department of Transport, Mr Mawethu Vilana published an announcement by the Department of Transport in the Government Gazette stating that an effective discount term extension on e-tolls bills was to be offered to GFIP e-toll road users.

The first sentence of the English version was cumbersome and comprised some 134 words which additionally seemed to contradict itself in that it said that the discounts would be applied on invoices issued from 3 December 2013 to 28 February 2014, but ended off saying “effectively extending the discount grace period to 30 June 2014”.

CarrotSubsequent media reports, including one issued by the South African Government News Agency wherein Nazir Alli has been quoted, as well as utterings by Vusi Mona have held that the effective two-thirds discount that will be extended to users who register by 30 June 2014 is applicable only to invoices issued from 3 December 2013 to 28 February 2014.  This excludes invoices issued in March and April 2014, which by the time 30 June comes around will be subject to the alternate user tariff, which is three times higher than the standard tariff.  Some invoices issued in May will be subject to a 30% discount by the time 30 June comes around, whilst those issued at the beginning of May will be subject to the alternate user tariff.

On 15 May 2014, SANRAL’s Vusi Mona was interviewed by Stephen Grootes on the 702 midday report wherein he made a number of startling revelations.  Amongst other things, he said that 700,000 people are paying e-tolls.  He went further to qualify this by saying that over a million people are registered and in amongst those were people who are exempt from paying. 

Mona and SANRAL have repeatedly held that over 1.2 million users are registered for e-tolls.  They have also stated that between 30,000 and 45,000 new registrations are taking place each week; however the 1.2 million figure has not grown since they started uttering this in February 2014.    

Additionally, if the registered users totals 1.2 million, then it is fair to say that 500,000 of those users are in fact exempt from paying e-tolls, based on the information that Vusi Mona revealed yesterday.

This is the first time that we have heard any mention whatsoever of the quantum of exempt users under e-tolling and it is somewhat disingenuous of SANRAL to claim that there are 1.2 million registered users when in fact, by Vusi Mona’s assertion, there are actually only 700,000 who are in fact paying.

This revelation furthermore demonstrates that instead of 48% of the 2.5 million vehicles that allegedly use the GFIP paying e-tolls as previously repeatedly claimed by SANRAL, only 28% in fact are paying.  The situation of the “user pays principle” was bad enough when we were misled to believe that 48% were paying.  Now that it has been revealed that only 28% are in fact paying, this must be viewed as a clear indictment that the so-called “user pays principle” is simply not working but is instead failing on a grand scale.  In reality, Mona’s statements have highlighted that e-tolling is simply a “some users pay principle” and nothing more.

Another poignant statement was uttered by Vusi Mona wherein he said “…despite their attitudes and their disrespect for the rule of law” (referring to OUTA) but he then went further went to say “…and of course as SANRAL, our toll portfolio is a business and we cannot sit back if we are not collecting…”

The concept of legislating companies into business and providing them with a “legally” captive customer base in doing so, although popular in the Department of Transport, is vulgar to say the least and smacks of corruption.  Anyone who cannot see this is either blind or involved in it and offering bribes to motorists to come forward and register is just another manifestation of this.

There have been repeated calls for a referendum on e-tolls versus a dedicated, Gauteng-specific fuel levy and, despite repeated claims of e-tolls having been democratically implemented; government has simply ignored these calls.

Vusi Mona’s interview with Stephen Grootes is available here.


JPSA MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ALL NEWS, CRIME & TRANSPORT EDITORS
DATE: 2014/05/09
SUBJECT: SANRAL’S DENIAL OF FINAL DEMANDS/SUMMONSES "WORRISOME" - JPSA

JOHANNESBURG - Justice Project South Africa has noted the denial by SANRAL that it has commenced issuing Final Demands and summonses as reported on the Human IPO website and is somewhat concerned that once again, the head doesn’t appear to know what the tail is doing.

The statements made by SANRAL’s Vusi Mona that “SANRAL has not issued Final Demand invoices, however we have issued communication as final reminder of outstanding payment. We also have not requested any summons to be issued by the National Prosecuting Authority” are somewhat worrisome because if this is true, then it simply means that the SANRAL VPC is lying to people in its emails.

This constitutes both, unconscionable (unreasonably excessive) conduct and intimidation on the part of the VPC since they have made threats and statements of fact in their emails to the effect that “a letter of demand has been issued” and “a summons has been issued”.  These emails were indeed received by a company on 2 May 2014 and there is no denying this fact.

First email received at 06:04 on Friday 2 May 2014:
Final Demand

Second email received at 06:04 on Friday 2 May 2014:
Summons

Furthermore, the internet headers for both emails have been verified and confirm the emails as having originated from bulkmail.tmtservices.co.za and JPSA would not have put out its release on Tuesday 6 May 2014 if we had not verified the authenticity of the emails prior to doing so.

Internet Headers

NSLookup

The SANRAL VPC is run by the ETC consortium and we understand that TMT Services (Pty) Ltd, a Kapsch-owned company is responsible for running the VPC.  Whilst it is not unusual for TMT Services to engage in intimidation tactics and stray from the truth in order to achieve their objectives, there are laws prohibiting such tactics, but for some reason, TMT Services and others don’t seem to be of the opinion that laws apply to them.

Surely, if what SANRAL says about not having issued any Final Demands or approached the NPA for the issue of summonses, TMT Services can be said to be deliberately lying to members of the public in the intimidating emails that they send to them?

We have also noted that the article on the Human IPO website referred to an “opinion piece” authored by Vusi Mona which appeared on the SA Breaking News website.  Entitled “Sigh – Not OUTA again!”, Mona had another go at OUTA and their members for – amongst other things, “the same boring list of misinterpretations, half-truths and suggestiofalsi[sic]”.

JPSA wishes to make it clear that it is neither, a member of OUTA nor does it engage in Suggestio Falsi (Latin for implying a falsehood to be true).  All of the facts that JPSA brings to the table are both, truthful and verifiable.  We also avoid using and/or misusing terms that people generally don’t understand or use in common language, since we have no need or desire to portray an image that we somehow have superior or raised IQ’s over anyone else.

The fact that JPSA is not a member of OUTA must not be construed as us endorsing or condoning any of the malicious slander Vusi Mona has uttered and/or put in writing about OUTA, any of the individuals therein or anyone else for that matter.


JPSA MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ALL NEWS, CRIME & TRANSPORT EDITORS
DATE: 2014/05/06
SUBJECT: SANRAL COMMENCES SENDING FINAL DEMANDS & ISSUING SUMMONSES

JOHANNESBURG – It has come to the attention of Justice Project South Africa that the SANRAL Violations Processing Centre (VPC) has started sending out emails stating that “A Final Demand has been issued in regard to your e-toll Violations Processing Centre (VPC) Account” and “A summons has been issued”.

The email messages were received by a company that allegedly has an outstanding e-tolls bill with SANRAL, in two separate emails sent on 2 May 2014, within seconds of one another.

First email received at 06:04 on Friday 2 May 2014:
Final Notice
Second email received at 06:04 on Friday 2 May 2014:
Summons
It is not clear at this stage whether the summons referred to in the email is a civil or criminal summons as neither the Final Demand, nor the summons has as yet been received by the company in question. 

What is clear however is that SANRAL’s VPC doesn’t understand the concept of the term “pre-legal”, given the fact that they have referred to a summons already having been issued and usually “pre-legal” communications precede the issue of a summons, which escalates the matter to the status of being a live legal issue. Additionally, in order for a summons to be issued, a court date would be required so that it may appear on the summons.

In light of the “processes” described by spokespeople for SANRAL, it is somewhat surprising that a Final Demand would have been issued and seconds later, a summons would have been issued.  These actions deviate dramatically from the “processes” that have been repeatedly described by SANRAL representatives.


 

JPSA MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ALL NEWS, CRIME & TRANSPORT EDITORS
DATE: 2014/04/24
SUBJECT: EASTER ROAD DEATHS STATISTICS PREMATURE

JOHANNESBURG – Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) is somewhat concerned that an apparently false impression has been created with respect to the Easter 2014 road deaths, by claiming that there has been a dramatic reduction in road deaths over last year.

Last year, the Easter weekend ran from 29 March to 1 April 2013 and the preliminary statistics were released on 8 April 2013.  That’s 7 days after the end of the period.  This year, Easter ran from 18 to 21 April and the preliminary statistics were released on 23 April, 2 days after the end of the period. 

Despite moves being afoot to transform the collation of road fatality statistics by involving other entities like Stats SA and the CSIR, these statistics are still derived from the SAPS culpable homicide crime statistics registry and unfortunately, SAPS is not famed for its speedy capture of cases.

If we wait another couple of days and again query the SAPS database on 28 April, it is undoubtable that the reported 193 road deaths will climb significantly – after some of the less efficient SAPS stations enter their culpable homicide cases onto the SAPS registry.

We therefore believe that it is premature of the Minister of Transport to be claiming a significant “decline” in road deaths over the 2013 Easter period – which in turn creates the somewhat false impression that the situation is improving dramatically.  We are, quite simply, not comparing apples with apples.

It must also be borne in mind that preliminary statistics derived from the SAPS database only take into account the immediate fatalities that occur at crash scenes.  The United Nations statistical record-keeping protocol dictates that injuries from road crashes should be monitored for a further 30 days after the crash, to take into account those who die from their injuries later, in hospital. 

CrashThe RTMC has not published a comprehensive finalised annual road traffic report since August 2011 – which effectively dealt with statistics from March 2010 to March 2011.  We are therefore thrashing around in the dark when it comes to statistics since there is no recent point of reference available.  This also makes it very difficult to evaluate whether South Africa is making any progress whatsoever with respect to halving its road deaths during the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011 to 2020.

We are not trying to demean any of the efforts by law enforcement authorities and road safety practitioners this Easter period or at any other time.  We are merely pointing out that when we evaluate the outcomes of those efforts we should be honest with ourselves and avoid claiming victory based on incomparable and/or non-existent statistics.  To do anything else simply misleads everyone and leads to undeserved back-patting.

JPSA MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ALL NEWS, CRIME & TRANSPORT EDITORS
DATE: 2014/04/04
SUBJECT: CLARITY ON SANRAL E-TOLLS PROSECUTIONS

JOHANNESBURG - It has come to our attention that SANRAL’s CFO, Ms Inge Mulder has made a claim that the courts will easily cope with the volumes of e-toll prosecutions SANRAL intends bringing at some time in the future, citing the “rollup” of offences into a single summons as her reasoning for this.

Whilst it is true that SANRAL may indeed, through the clerk of the court, issue a single summons to an INDIVIDUAL – citing multiple counts of the same offence, it is NOT true that “bulk decisions will be made” against similar cases as was suggested by John Robbie and agreed with by Ms Mulder. 

Each and every offender will HAVE TO be summonsed INDIVIDUALLY for their own matter and the normal criminal justice system and procedures will apply in line with the Constitution and the Criminal Procedure Act.  Ms Mulder also said that the courts could “process a huge amount of them every day” and this is somewhat optimistic, given the current workload on the courts.

Ms Mulder has stated that, of the 2.5 million daily road users – which could equate to a much higher actual number of vehicles, given that both SANRAL and the Minister of Transport have said that not all vehicles/users use the GFIP every day – 1.2 million have registered with SANRAL.

She then cites this as limiting the amount of individuals that will have to be summonsed and prosecuted but seems to forget that this still leaves 1.3 million users at minimum who are NOT registered.  If a mere 10% of those people do not pay, then 130,000 INDIVIDUAL summonses will have to be issued and served and those who don’t pay admission of guilt fines – thereby automatically incurring a criminal record – will have to be tried in court.

The collective lower (Magistrates) courts in Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni simply cannot deal with such volumes and even if they could, Magistrates whose pensions are invested in SANRAL e-tolls bonds would be hard-pressed to demonstrate their impartiality in these matters and hence, why they should not recuse themselves from presiding over the matters.

JPSA has repeatedly stated that the South African criminal justice system, let alone the courts in Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni cannot deal with the volume of e-tolls prosecutions that will have to ensue at some stage or another and we maintain this stance. 

We also maintain our stance that the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act applies in the jurisdictions of the JMPD and the TMPD and to date, despite having referred the matter to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development after an initial dismissive response by SANRAL’s attorneys, the Minister of Transport has still failed to answer our lawyer’s letter dated 26 November 2013 and subsequent letters thereafter.

Whatever happens, a “test case” will have to be brought before the High Court to establish whether the methodology behind e-toll prosecutions is correct and indeed, whether defaulters may be prosecuted in the manner that SANRAL is proposing.  Zwelinzima Vavi, Mark Heywood, Bishop Geoff Davies, Wayne Duvenage, Father Mike Deeb, Kay Sexwale and Howard Dembovsky have all invited such a test case by refusing to pay e-tolls but it remains to be seen whether SANRAL and the NPA has the guts to take these offers up.

So in summary – this is the process that will HAVE TO be followed by SANRAL:

  1. Issue final demands and deliver them by REGISTERED mail;
  2. If ignored, gather each count into a summons in terms of Section 54 of the Criminal Procedure Act (Act 51 of 1977) for EACH INDIVIDUAL;
  3. Get court dates for each of the individual summonses;
  4. Have the Sheriff, a traffic officer or a policeman serve summonses on individuals;
  5. Have the matter heard in a competent and unbiased criminal Court.

ONLY if an individual pays an admission of guilt fine or is found guilty in court will they get a criminal record.

702 interview can be heard here.


JPSA MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ALL NEWS, CRIME & TRANSPORT EDITORS
DATE: 2014/04/02
SUBJECT: SANRAL THREATS OF “JAIL TIME” A GANTRY TO FAR

JOHANNESBURG – It takes a lot to shock Justice Project South Africa but when the 2014/04/02 - 18:30 Eyewitness News on Talk Radio 702 and Highveld Stereo; and subsequent bulletins thereafter led with the headline “Pay up – or face jail time”, we really thought our ears were deceiving us.

The latest attempts at scaremongering comes hot on the heels of the revelation in Parliament that SANRAL has spent R54.74 million in order to collect R50.02 million and that up to 1 March 2014, over a half a billion Rand is outstanding in unpaid e-tolls over the three month period under review.

“Clearly whoever made this threat must have come to the realisation that previous threats of criminal records and credit blacklisting – based on an Act that exempts itself from the National Credit Act – have had a limited effect,” said JPSA chairman, Howard Dembovsky. 

“What SANRAL doesn’t seem to realise is that South Africans have been subjected to similar tyrannical threats by the previous regime and they didn’t cave in then – so why would they cave in now?” he continued.

It also appears that someone at SANRAL has decided to dispense with the troublesome formality of conducting trials and now feels that they can jump straight to sentencing people to jail time.  After all, since all Magistrates just so happen to have their pensions tied up in the Public Investment Corporation’s (PIC’s) investment in e-tolling, there isn’t a single Magistrate in South Africa who will be able to hear an e-tolls prosecution without bias.

We suspect that SANRAL has now overplayed its hand and gone a gantry too far with its threats, and may well find that instead of managing to scare more people into compliance, they will simply strengthen the resolve of e-toll dissidents to resist, since there is absolutely no way that the courts will willingly dismantle the Gauteng economy by jailing what, at the bare minimum, will be hundreds of thousands of economically active citizens – even if they could manage the volumes.

SANRAL has a sizable pool of willing volunteers to be prosecuted if/when they decide to do so and none of them have asked for the additional 30 days to pay that is allegedly being offered.  Zwelinzima Vavi, Mark Heywood, Bishop Geoff Davies, Wayne Duvenage, Fr Mike Deeb, Kay Sexwale and Howard Dembovsky have all invited prosecution by refusing to pay e-tolls.  

If SANRAL chooses to pick on someone else instead, they will merely be proving that they are both, the bullies and cowards they have thus far proven themselves to be by engaging in intimidation and extortion tactics on public platforms.

Considering that the conviction rate for dangerous road traffic offences like driving under the influence of alcohol is reportedly 7.5% (Kwazulu-Natal) and excessive speed to the tune of 173km/h in a 120km/h zone has led to charges being withdrawn against Itumeleng Khune in return for 10 hours community service, it’s not difficult to see where the priorities lie.  Tackling South Africa’s unacceptably high road death toll is clearly way less important to the Department of Transport's SANRAL than tackling non-payment of tolls, now isn’t it?


TO: ALL NEWS EDITORS
DATE: 2014/03/26
SUBJECT: HANDS OFF OUR PUBLIC PROTECTOR!

JOHANNESBURG – Following repeated verbal and written attacks on the integrity of the office of the Public Protector and Advocate Madonsela herself, Justice Project South Africa, early this morning launched a campaign entitled “Hands Off our Public Protector” while Advocate Madonsela was being interviewed on Jacaranda’s Complimentary Breakfast.

Hands Off our Public Protector!

Within minutes our tweet (and variations of it tagging other Twitter handles) had been retweeted far and wide and we are very encouraged by the public support that is already being shown for our campaign.

We are planning to hold a march to the offices of the Public Protector in Pretoria sometime in April and are currently busy with plans and arrangements to facilitate this.

“This will not be a protest as such, but more of a public show of support. We feel that the Public Protector could do with some support for the essential work that she and her office does and sending the message out to her detractors to lay off is equally important,” said JPSA’s Howard Dembovsky.

“It should also be noted that this campaign is not only in response to the Nkandla Report and there is a report on a complaint we lodged with the office of the Public Protector some time ago looming for publication in the very near future,” he said.

Dembovsky emphasised the point that the campaign was completely apolitical and that JPSA would not welcome or tolerate any participation by political parties of any description in the campaign.

We have noted that coincidentally, the Freedom Front Plus has today also launched a campaign in support of the Public Protector.  We wish to point out that we were completely unaware of their plans to do so and we distance ourselves from ANY political party events, no matter what they are for.

JPSA will make an announcement with respect to the planned date and time of our march in due course.


JPSA MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ALL NEWS & TRANSPORT EDITORS
DATE: 2014/03/06
SUBJECT: REGISTERED E-TOLLS USERS NOT WHAT IS BEING ADVERTISED - MINISTER

JOHANNESBURG – Justice Project South Africa was somewhat astonished to hear the truth being set forth in Parliament by Minister Dipuo Peters on Wednesday 5 March 2014, wherein her answers to how many registrations for SANRAL’s e-tolls have taken place make a complete mockery of both, SANRAL’s advertising and the assertions of Mr Nazir Alli.

In her answer to the question asked by DA MP Ian Ollis as to how many registrations had taken place to 1 February 2014 she stated that the number was 912,048 registrations as at 31 January 2014 – of which 49,987 were for local, provincial and national government vehicles. It must also be borne in mind that a significant proportion of these registrations must apply to vehicles exempted from paying e-tolls.

SANRAL has been thanking the “more than 1.2 million registered users” of the GFIP for more than a week now – at the very least – in their radio adverts. Additionally, Mr Nazir Alli – CEO of SANRAL did the same on 28 February 2014 on the John Robbie’s show on Talk Radio 702.

“It is very difficult, if not impossible to believe that more than 287,952 new registrations would have taken place in the 28 days in February, especially in light of the fact that SANRAL’s repeated claims that around 35,000 registrations take place a week,” said Howard Dembovsky, chairperson of JPSA. “A figure of more than 10,000 registrations per day, every single day in the month of February, is simply too difficult to swallow, no matter how SANRAL chooses to spin it,” he continued.

Furthermore, the statement by Minister Peters that between 23% and 28% of the daily users of Gauteng’s e-roads have e-tags indicates that a stunning 72% don’t, which is most certainly not the impression that SANRAL is portraying. 

According to SANRAL’s own “research”, around 2.5 million vehicles use the GFIP daily. This means that 1.8 million of them don’t have e-tags. SANRAL has not hesitated to label research conducted by OUTA as “unscientific”, but now it emerges that in fact, OUTA’s research was anything but inaccurate.

If SANRAL is indeed getting paid “more than R300 million a month” on e-tolls, as was claimed by Nazir Alli on Friday 28 February 2014, from up to 28% of their registered users and some of the unregistered users who may have paid, then the assertions by Mr Patrick Craven of COSATU that the e-toll tariffs are way too high hold a great deal of water.

The so-called “advantages” of e-tolling question raised by Ms Ruth Bhengu wherein the Minister referred to the delays caused by lack of maintenance to the freeways prior to the completion of the GFIP was also laughable. 

“Surely there is no roads authority, apart from SANRAL and the Department of Transport, anywhere in the world that would have the audacity to even think that a roads network installed in the 1970's, more than 40 years prior would cater for the natural, dramatically increased vehicle population?” asked Dembovsky.

 “If anything, all this answer has done is to highlight how the fuel levy and other taxes have ‘evaporated’ into thin air, instead of being used to maintain, and indeed, upgrade our roads infrastructure. It is certainly no justification for e-tolling,” he continued.

“The time for SANRAL to stop overtly lying to the public has long since passed, as has the time for them to face reality and understand that no matter how many times a lie is repeated, it remains a lie. The people of Gauteng and South Africa do not need ‘to raise their IQ’. They are not stupid – no matter what Vusi Mona, Nazir Alli and SANRAL wish to call them or suggest they do.”

614 words

Reference: Parliamentary Plenary Session of 5 March 2014 on YouTube starting at 01:09:34:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnNzsSC0lac


MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ALL NEWS, TRANSPORT & CRIME EDITORS
DATE: 2014/02/25
SUBJECT: FINES4U WINS JUDGMENT AGAINST JMPD

JOHANNESBURG – Traffic Fines Management company Fines4U (Pty) Ltd has been awarded a judgment against the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department, ordering the JMPD to stop violating the rights of the company by abusing and interfering with processes under the AARTO Act.

In November 2012, Burger Attorneys*, on behalf of Fines4U and Vaal Car Hire filed an application citing five illegally served AARTO infringement notices sent by the JMPD and the ensuing illegal actions taken by the JMPD.  The Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department, Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality, Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Road Traffic Infringement Agency, Minister of Transport and Minister of Police were cited as respondents.

Only the JMPD and the Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality decided to oppose the application and in December 2012, the JMPD cancelled the five infringement notices in a clear attempt to render the application moot.  The matter was heard in the South Gauteng High Court on 29 January 2014 and judgment was reserved.

Justice Andre Gautschi awarded judgment in favour of Fines4U and Vaal Car Hire, with costs against the Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality and Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department on 25 February 2014. 

In his judgement, Justice Andre Gautschi ruled that a proxy for a juristic entity is entitled to elect to be tried in court under AARTO and affirmed that the appointment of representations officers in the employ of the JMPD up to 22 December 2012 was unlawful and in direct contravention of the AARTO Act and a determination of the Minister of Transport.

“This judgment shows that despite taking a long time and requiring significant financial investment, justice does prevail if you have the guts and determination to go the distance, not to mention the funds to invest in good legal arguments,” said Howard Dembovsky, chairman of Justice Project South Africa. 

“We congratulate Fines4U for showing the moral fortitude to not simply roll over and let the threats of the JMPD force them into capitulating to unfair and illegal practices,” he concluded.

*Attorney Anton Burger is a Director of Justice Project South Africa
**
Justice Andre Gautschi's judgment is available here.


JPSA MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ALL NEWS, TRANSPORT & CRIME EDITORS
DATE: 2014/01/26
SUBJECT: SANRAL E-TOLLS TERMS & CONDITIONS DON’T COMPLY WITH CPA - NCC

On Friday 24 January 2014, the National Consumer Commission’s Head of Advocacy, Education and Awareness, Ms Phumeze Mlungu stated that “SANRAL’s e-tolls terms and conditions are 90% compliant with the Consumer Protection Act” and that “legislative amendments will be required to bring them in line with the Act”.

These statements were made on public television on SABC1 on the “Yilungelo Lakho/It's your right” current affairs programme of the public broadcaster. She also stated that the National Consumer Commission has received two complaints and four enquires with respect to e-tolling since its launch on 3 December 2013. 

Anything that is “90% compliant” is actually NON-COMPLIANT and therefore violates the provisions of the Act.  There is a pertinent saying in law which holds “let the buyer beware” and anyone who assents to terms and conditions that violate their rights under the Consumer Protection Act is looking to have their rights violated with their own consent.

For the National Consumer Commission to then state that “legislative amendments will be required to bring SANRAL’s terms and conditions in line with the Act” is an outright admission of collusion between the two State agencies and is furthermore an admission that the National Consumer Commission is not acting in the interests of consumers.

Since Ms Mlungu did not specify which 10% of the SANRAL e-tolling terms and conditions violate the Consumer Protection Act, it is not possible for JPSA to make comment on this beyond saying that both SANRAL and the Department of Trade and Industry’s National Consumer Commission have had more than sufficient time to make certain that SANRAL’s e-tolling terms and conditions comply with the Act, prior to the launch of e-tolling on 3 December 2013.

Furthermore, if the National Consumer Commission is clearly prepared to turn a blind eye to the violation of its own legislation and thereby fail in its supposed mandate of protecting consumer rights, it is hardly surprising that so few people have complained to them.

SANRAL CEO, Nazir Alli has become very fond of pointing his finger at the public and those who oppose e-tolling and accusing them of having “no respect for democracy and the rule of law”, yet he seems to be of the opinion that it is okay for his organisation to openly and flagrantly break the law.

Notwithstanding the apparent violation of the Consumer Protection Act, SANRAL has also recently taken it upon itself to reduce the terms of payment whereupon a 60% discount applies on invoices paid within 30 days to terms of 17 days and less.  The period of validity for discounts is legislated in the e-tolls tariff gazette of 19 November 2013.

Both, the National Consumer Commission and SANRAL have made an utter mockery of the laws of South Africa by their collusion and preparedness to violate the very laws they expect others to abide by.

Justice Project South Africa has recently been encouraging members of the public to lodge their complaints over e-tolling with the State controlled National Consumer Commission and we now see the “error of our ways”.  We simply cannot with good conscience continue to refer people to a colluding department like the National Consumer Commission.


JPSA MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ALL NEWS, TRANSPORT & CRIME EDITORS
DATE: 2014/01/21
SUBJECT: INCIDENT AT SANRAL eTOLLS NERVE CENTRE

Justice Project South Africa was horrified to learn of the emergency evacuation of the SANRAL eTolls nerve centre on Tuesday Afternoon due to an “unidentified white powder” having been discovered in a bag.

The mere fact that a reported 20 employees had to be “decontaminated” and taken to hospital suggests that this incident was a great deal more than a simple prank and we trust that the South African Police Service will do everything in its power to bring the perpetrator/s to justice. We do not believe that SANRAL’s description of this heinous act as “bordering on a serious crime” was nearly strong enough.

Biological/Chemical attacks – real or feigned are an act of cowardice and terrorism and the perpetrator/s should be dealt with in the strongest possible fashion by the Courts when they are tracked down. Hoax or real, JPSA condemns this incident in the strongest possible terms and wishes all SANRAL employees affected by this incident well.

We were however somewhat surprised that this incident managed to bring SANRAL’s much boasted, “technological masterpiece” of e-tolling to a grinding halt, due to the power supply at their nerve centre having been shut down. According to news reports, Mr Vusi Mona was quoted as saying that “the e-toll system will be affected, since no one is able to man the system, as all staff have been evacuated”.

This suggests two things – namely that the e-tolls system we had been led to believe was highly automated and infallible is reliant on being manned and secondly, that SANRAL has no redundancy built into the e-tolling IT system infrastructure – by having more than one system in place.

Given the enormous cost of installing and implementing such a system, one would have thought that fundamental Corporate IT best practices would have been employed and that SANRAL and its tender winners would not have placed all of their eggs in one basket.

If this is indeed the case, which apparently it is, then Government should order an immediate investigation into the competence of both, those who drafted and awarded the tenders and those who simply forged ahead and installed such a technologically vulnerable system, for which the public is expected to pay both arms and both legs for.

JPSA MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ALL NEWS, TRANSPORT & CRIME EDITORS
DATE: 2014/01/16
SUBJECT: JPSA DEMANDS THE RESIGNATION/DISMISSAL OF SANRAL SPOKESPERSON

On the evening of Wednesday 15 January 2014, SANRAL spokesperson, Vusi Mona, responded to a question asked by a listener of Radio 702 and Cape Talk in a grossly disrespectful and arrogant fashion.

The listener had posed the question (paraphrased) “How do I as a road user know that I’m not being scammed because there’s a lot of people who will jump on the bandwagon and try to scam you? How do you guarantee that these SMSes are genuine and not scams?” in reference to the SMS messages being sent out demanding eTolls monies. 

His response was to say “Very easy. Raise your IQ a little bit…”

We have published this excerpt to:
https://soundcloud.com/howard-dembovsky/vusi-mona-tells-dianna-who

As a public servant and an employee of a State Owned Enterprise, Mr Mona has a duty to demonstrate respect for members of the public and he should know better than to openly and blatantly insult a member of the public who was simply asking a legitimate question of him.

At no time during the course of his interview with Gushwell Brooks did Mr Mona apologise for his utterances.  Instead, he tried to justify them by saying that people should “exercise common sense”.

We are reliably informed that this is not the first time that Mr Mona has alluded to “low IQs” when speaking to journalists about the "eTolls debate", however this is the first time that we have heard him state as much on public radio, first hand. 

Justice Project South Africa hereby calls upon Vusi Mona to do the honourable thing and resign immediately, failing which for the Minister of Transport to dismiss him since he clearly has no respect for the public he is supposed to serve – not hurl insults at.


JPSA MEDIA STATEMENT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO:

ALL NEWS AND TRANSPORT EDITORS

DATE:

THURSDAY 9 JANUARY 2014

SUBJECT:

FESTIVE SEASON ROAD CARNAGE

Justice Project South Africa wishes to express its sincere sympathies to all people affected by road crashes during the monitoring period of 1 December 2013 to 7 January 2014. 

We note that the PRELIMINARY road fatalities figure during this period was originally announced as being 1376, was later adjusted to 1357 but in the official media release from the department of transport, it’s back to 1376. Whatever it is, it’s way too high and is indicative of the serious problems South Africa faces on our roads, which can be likened to war zones.

We share the concerns expressed by Rob Handfield-Jones with respect to the credibility of these figures since an increase in 8 days of 192 fatalities represents an average daily rate of 24 fatalities per day, compared to the daily average of 39.4 per day up to 30 December 2013.  This is particularly concerning in light of the fact that several multi-fatality serious crashes took place after the 30 December previous report from the RTMC and the latest figures just don’t appear to be plausible.

We wish to make it very clear are NOT in any way accusing Minister Peters of “lying” since she can only report on figures that are presented to her. There are fundamental flaws in the methodologies used to collate such statistical information and these need to be urgently addressed.  We should also be very careful in announcing total “reductions” in road fatalities during the “festive season”, especially in light of the consistent shortening of the monitoring period that has typified reporting over the past few years.

Dangerous driving behaviour remains the prevalent killer on South Africa’s roads and yet the enforcement of moving violations remains a poorly – almost non-existent – implemented practice amongst traffic authorities.  Whilst the contingent of approximately 18,000 traffic officers countrywide cannot be deemed as nearly enough to police almost 10 million motorists, the way in which they are deployed and utilised needs urgent review.  Deploying them to roadblocks where moving violations don’t take place and into bushes to take photographs of speeding motorists is illogical – to put it mildly.

On the positive side, we are heartened that the Minister of Transport has prioritised the formation of a Road Safety Advisory Council going forward and hold high hopes for positive actions for the dramatic reduction of road carnage through positive interventions.  There is much work ahead and only consistent and ongoing interventions, based on reliable information and best practices will achieve the goals of curbing South Africa’s unacceptably high road carnage.


 

Previous media releases are available here.

This page was last updated on Friday 25 July, 2014