Each e-toll user ignoring compliance letters and court summons from the Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) is risking to get on its blacklist.
Last May, the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) delegated e-toll collection to the ETC. The ETC’s Chief Executive Coenie Vermaak claims about 4.6 million people are defaulting on their e-toll accounts. The only possible way to recover these large outstanding toll fees is through court summons. As a result, nearly 16,000 summons in total have been issued to road users who failed to pay and chose to ignore all the notices to settle their debts.
An application for 1,400 default judgments against motorists has been filed. If granted it will lead to automatic blacklisting. Vermaak explains:
“When road users do not respond to the summons, then ETC applies to the court to make that a default judgement. In a default judgement, the automatic recourse is that a road user is blacklisted.”
The e-toll users are given enough chances to avoid such a destiny: several reminders are sent requesting to settle their accounts.
“A person would have received, first of all, an SMS to tell them their account has not been paid and after receiving a letter of demand, they would have also received the summonses themselves and then when people ignore that, then we apply to the courts for default judgment,” Vermaak justifies.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse has objected to the process, stating that the legality of e-tolls has to be determined first. The legal test case between Sanral and Outa is expected to head to court sometime this year.