– On Thursday 10 September 2015, Stoyan Hristov Stoychev was convicted and
sentenced in the Pretoria Magistrates Court on charges of common fraud, the modus operandi of which was to falsify
his number plates, presumably in order to evade camera-based traffic fines, as
well as e-tolls. He was not however charged with a single speeding offence.
After reaching a plea
agreement with the State, he plead guilty to both, fraud by falsifying his
number plates and to violating section 27(5)(a) of the SANRAL Act, and was
sentenced in accordance with the plea agreement which reads as follows:
On the charge of
fraud (count 1):
fine of R20,000 or 6 months imprisonment, with a further term of 12 months
imprisonment suspended for five years; and
hours community service with the SPCA.
On the charge of
violating Section 27 of the SANRAL Act (count 2 to 988 – all counts taken together):
fine of R20,000 or 6 months imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years on
the condition that he pays his existing e-tolls bill of R14,873.81 over a
period of six months and does not fail to pay e-tolls in future.
has been made of Mr Stoychev being “the
first victim of e-tolls prosecution”, however this is not strictly in fact
the case and it must be clearly understood that what Mr Stoychev did was to falsify his number plates. It is undeniable
that the e-tolls component of this particular matter would never have arisen
had he not falsified his number plates to start with.
number plates is forbidden under the National Road Traffic Act, for obvious
reasons and this offence is usually prosecuted as fraud by our courts, as was
the case in this matter.
it is interesting to note that charges of allegedly using false number plates
on his vehicle brought against Telkom CEO, Sipho Maseko wherein he allegedly
incurred traffic fines to the value of R18,000 were withdrawn against him in
the Wynberg Magistrates Court last week. He was not charged for e-tolls
is also interesting to note that the case of using the same false number plates
on his BMW Z4 and Harley Davidson motorcycle, “BALTY GP”, brought against
former TMPD Deputy Chief, Ndumiso Jaca has still not been concluded, 4 years
after the fact.
fact that Mr Stoychev and his legal team decided to enter into this plea
agreement with the State because he was in an undeniably weak position due to
falsifying his number plates does not surprise us in the least.
we fully expect SANRAL to capitalise on this seeming successful prosecution, using their usual smoke and mirrors tactics, it would be not
be correct for anyone to assume that Mr Stoychev’s plea agreement and resulting
conviction serves to demonstrate that not paying e-tolls while your number
plates are genuine and are lawfully displayed will lead to a similar
people do not falsify their number plates and therefore could not be charged
with fraud, the absence of which would then leave the matter of not paying
e-tolls to be heard if the matter is defended instead of a plea agreement being
remains of the opinion that non-payment of e-tolls should be prosecuted under
the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act since it
is catered for as a non-criminal infringement therein.