Gauteng motorists new road tax

Gantry TG001 Barbet on the N1 north, in Lynnwood, Pretoria. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/JMK

E-tolls: A new legal technicality may force drivers to pay their toll fees

Where Sanral has failed, a new legal document may succeed. The non-compliant users of e-tolls in Gauteng might soon fall foul of a sneaky technicality.

Gauteng motorists new road tax

Gantry TG001 Barbet on the N1 north, in Lynnwood, Pretoria. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/JMK

Sanral have tried every method in the book to get road users in Gauteng to pay for the failing e-tolls system. But there’s a chance they could be bailed out by the new “Aarto” laws that’ll soon be implemented on South Africa’s roads.

President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the controversial Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (Aarto) Bill into law on Tuesday 13 August. In the past week, critics have been conducting a post mortem into the legislation, which has been bollocked uphill and down-dale by the Organisation for Undoing Tax Abuse.

How the new Aarto rules could effect e-tolls

The lobby group – referred to as OUTA – believe the Aarto bill will be a nightmare to implement and will pave the way for further corruption. The AA also reckon the proposed “demerit system” is a fundamentally sound concept, but their analysis of the Bill’s proposals is that it is designed to collect revenue only.

According to them, it won’t make South African roads any safer. As we reported earlier in the year, there are a total of 25 offences that could put points on your license and see drivers fined.

The legal technicality which could force drivers to pay fees for e-tolls fees

However, it seems that this won’t be the only way that the bill will seek to generate some cash. Rudie Heyneke is the OUTA portfolio manager on transport, and he suspects that a bit of technical legal jargon hiding inside the document could force motorists to pay for the e-tolls they desperately want rid of.

Heyneke believes that Aarto will seek to make it an offence for drivers to ignore road signs. In Gauteng, e-tolls are clearly signposted with the costs for each vehicle to pass through a gantry. By ignoring the instructions to pay, one could be in violation of Aarto – meaning that either a fine, a penalty and or legal action could all be sanctioned.

Aarto looks to complete the job Sanral never could

It would be another extraodrinary attempt at cash-grab from Sanral. Their efforts of litigation didn’t work earlier this year, and billion-rand bailouts have failed to energise the flailing department. They still have their hopes pinned on compliant e-tolls usage, but that simply doesn’t look like it will happen.

Only 25 – 30% of road users in Gauteng bother to pay their toll fees. But it remains to be seen if Aarto could succeed where many, many others have failed.