Admitting that e-tolling “was a mistake” is a good start – JPSA

JOHANNESBURG – Justice Project South Africa is delighted to note that Gauteng Premier, David Makhura has reportedly finally admitted that e-tolling on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project “was a mistake” in his State of the Province address on Monday 20 February 2017 and congratulates him for doing so.

Certainly, finally coming to admit one’s mistakes represents a superbly good start to finding a way to put right that mistake and one can only hope that the Premier’s colleagues who are higher up the food chain, as well as the arrogant individuals at SANRAL will also come to realise this instead of continuing to seek to wage war with motorists who drive on these freeways.

It is sad to note that the new CEO of SANRAL, Skhumbuzo Macozoma has apparently adopted a similar approach to that of his predecessor in again threatening some people with criminal prosecution for the non-payment of e-tolls when the Department of Transport has acknowledged that this is not possible in the jurisdictions of the Cities of Johannesburg and Tshwane, when it released proposed amendments to the AARTO Regulations on 7 December 2015 in order to better suit SANRAL’s bizarre and ill-founded desire to include up to 100 infringements on a single AARTO 03 infringement notice.

JPSA has asserted from the outset that the Criminal Procedure Act cannot be used to prosecute non-payment of e-tolls in the jurisdictions of the Cities of Johannesburg and Tshwane, which cover the vast majority of the freeways which make up the GFIP and was proven right when these proposed amendments were published for public comment. Since then, the Minister of Transport has not proclaimed any amendments to the AARTO Regulations, apart from an amendment to Schedule 4 which lists the issuing authorities in terms of the AARTO Act.

Just when it will be that National Government, the Minister and Department of Transport and SANRAL come to the realisation that e-tolling was, as the Premier puts it, “a mistake”, scraps it and moves on is anyone’s guess but the fact still remains that the enormously unpopular scheme has failed in a spectacular fashion and there exists less than zero chance that citizens will suddenly capitulate and buy into it.