SANRAL to write off over R3bn in unrecovered e-toll bills

Perhaps time to look at another strategy.


In what can be seen as a concession of defeat, the South African Roads Agency (Sanral) is to write off debt of over R3 billion.

Sanral confirmed on Tuesday that they will be scrap a bill of R3.6 billion in unpaid e-toll bills but that does not mean defaulters are off the hook as the agency will still take them to court.

Since e-tolls were introduced in Gauteng, the system has received widespread criticism and resistance across the board, resulting in Sanral recording a loss of R4.6 billion from toll operations alone in the last financial year.

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Wayne Duvenhage of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) says this indicates that Sanral could have finally come to the realisation that they are fighting a losing battle.

“We believe they’ve written down the punitive tolls down to normal e-tag toll rates and they’ve kept it for the three years and then they ignored all those under R500. That is the first chance of cleaning out, but it is a realisation and acknowledgement ‘that all the charges that we have been charging the public out there are not collectable, we need to start removing it from our books’,” he said.

“The scheme was well resisted by the public. And I think what they’ve done is now written off a substantive amount and they’re bringing down the outstanding debt with the realisation that in time this scheme is not going to work and they’re going to have to scrap it. So I think they’re going to take a couple of years to try and write off the remainder of the debt.”

In a statement released on Tuesday, Outa said they are pleased that the Department of Transport have acknowledged challenges they have with regards with tolling in the province.

Also read: City beats SANRAL in court: No N1/N2 tolls for Cape Town