JPSA's submission on amendments to the SANRAL Act regulations - e-tolls

Phillip Magagane and John Motsatsing
Department of Transport
Private Bag X193
PRETORIA
0001

PER EMAIL TO: magaganp@dot.gov.za; motsatsj@dot.gov.za and tariff@dot.gov.za

Your Ref: PUBLICATION OF THE NATIONAL ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATIONS FOR COMMENTS
Our Ref: GG39130

Friday, 25 September 2015

Dear Sirs,

PUBLICATION OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL ROADS AGENCY LIMITED AND NATIONAL ROADS ACT, 1998 (ACT NO. 7 OF 1998) DRAFT REGULATIONS AND NOTICES FOR COMMENTS

We refer to the proposed amendments to the South African National Roads Agency Limited and National Roads Act, 1998 (Act No. 7 Of 1998) and regulations tabled in Notice No. 760 of 2015 in government gazette No. 39130 of Thursday 27 August, 2015.

Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) hereby submits the following comments and inputs on the proposed amendments contained in the aforementioned notice for your consideration.

Since this is a multipart gazette, our comments will be split into different section headings with the appropriate paragraph numbering applicable to that part and following the same ordering structure contained in the gazette. Where necessary, we shall refer to the page numbers imprinted atop various pages in this gazette.

We respectfully request that the Department of Transport and/or the South African National Roads Agency (SOC) Limited acknowledged receipt hereof by return email.

REGULATIONS ON EXEMPTIONS FROM AND REBATES ON THE PAYMENT OF TOLLS (PAGES 5 THROUGH 25).

1.    Definitions

1.1.        The preamble to the definitions says “In these Regulations, any word or expression to which a meaning has been assigned in the Act, the National Land Transport Act or the e-Road Regulations shall have the same meaning and, unless the context indicates otherwise”.

1.1.1.   It is submitted that this preamble is deficient insofar as it does not include definitions contained in the National Road Traffic Act, No 93 of 1996 and the National Road Traffic Regulations, 2000, both of which have relevance to words and expressions used in these regulations.

1.2.        It is noted that the term "exempt emergency vehicle" has been replaced with "exempt emergency medical response vehicle", which now means: “an emergency medical response vehicle used only for medical response purposes that is registered as such in terms of the National Road Traffic Act, 1996 (Act No. 93 of 1996) and that has been exempted by the Agency, in terms of section 27(1)(c) of the Act from the liability to pay e-toll on an e-road or any portion of an e-road;”

1.2.1.   This definition, by its very specific reference to emergency medical response vehicles, specifically excludes:

1.2.1.1.       Vehicles operated by traffic authorities and the South African Police Service;

1.2.1.2.       Fire-fighting vehicles; and

1.2.1.3.       Any vehicle driven by a person responding to a disaster as contemplated in the Disaster Management Act, 2002.

1.2.2.   The existence of the further definition "exempt rescue vehicle" means a rescue vehicle used only for medical response purposes that is registered as such in terms of the National Road Traffic Act, 1996 (Act No. 93 of 1996) and that has been exempted by the Agency, in terms of section 27(1)(c) of the Act from the liability to pay e-toll on an e-road or any portion of an e-road; further exacerbates the situation since it too only refers to vehicles used for medical response purposes only.

1.2.2.1.       It therefore follows that if a fire-fighting vehicle is responding to a fire at a business or residential premises, a grass fire, etc. will be liable to pay e-tolls in order to do so.

1.3.        These matters are raised since the schedule of exemption from the payment of toll on pages 57 through 60 of Notice No. 760 of 2015 in government gazette No. 39130 refers to vehicles other than medical response vehicles which qualify for exemption under certain circumstances but do not include vehicles operated by the South African Police Service.

1.4.        The terms “NGO” and “NPO” are undefined, despite the fact that vehicles owned and operated by such vehicles are to be exempted from payment of e-tolls and a definition does exist referring to an “exempt NGO vehicle”.

1.4.1.   While regulation 5 further defines the requirements for such entities to be recognised as qualifying for exemption, a proper definition should exist in the definitions, defining the exact nature of the entities so as to avoid confusion and vagueness.

2.    Information required and procedures applicable in respect of exempt public transport vehicles.

2.1.        It is noted that a certified copy of the current vehicle licence certificate for each motor vehicle up to six motor vehicles is required, but when more than six motor vehicles are to be registered, this requirement falls away and all that is required is a schedule (spreadsheet) detailing the said vehicles’ vehicle identification numbers and date of issue of the certificates.

2.1.1.   The question must therefore be asked why it is that certified copies of the current vehicle licence certificate would not be required if the operator is registering more than six vehicles with the Agency and/or why it would be required for six or less vehicles since it does not appear to be an absolute requirement.

3.    Information required and procedures applicable in respect of exempt rescue vehicles and exempt emergency medical response vehicles.

3.1.        The problems associated with regulation 3 have already been contemplated supra and are further contemplated in our comments under the notice referring to exemptions.

3.2.        It is specifically noticed that medical doctors, many of whom are employed by State or private hospitals in a capacity of trauma surgeons, etc. and who do not register their vehicles as emergency response vehicles due to special provisions contained in the National Road Traffic Regulations applicable to medical doctors are not contemplated for exemption from e-tolls, yet they are allowed to use a red identification lamp.

3.3.        Subregulation (3) is vague and ambiguous, given the fact that no purposes for which the exemption is granted are defined anywhere in these regulations. This leaves the interpretation of whether the vehicle concerned is/was operated “for purposes or in circumstances other than for which the exemption was granted” to persons unknown, in the employ of or contracting to SANRAL.

4.    Information required and procedures applicable in respect of exempt adapted vehicles.

4.1.        Subregulation (1)(a) holds that the owner of an adapted vehicle must provide the agency with “proof that the vehicle will be used by a person or persons who qualify as persons with disabilities, being persons who have long term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which, in interaction with various barriers, may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.”

4.1.1.   Firstly, vehicles adapted for the use of disabled persons are so adapted to cater for physical disabilities, NOT mental, intellectual or sensory impairments.

4.2.        Subregulation (1)(b) refers to “a certificate from a medical practitioner registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa, including an impairment questionnaire, certifying that the person qualifies under paragraph (a)” however, nowhere in these regulations or its annexures are such documents prescribed.

4.2.1.   If the NaTIS form “MC – MC(7)(2005/11)” is intended to be used for this purpose, then the regulations should state as much although we submit that this document is not fit for the purpose of these regulations.

4.3.        The provision contained in regulation 4(2) which states that “A person who registers a vehicle under sub-regulation (1) must submit the adapted vehicle to the Agency or its agent for inspection at a time and place to be determined by the Agency and communicated to that person” is vague and ambiguous.

4.3.1.   It would make complete sense if a person applying for such an exemption were to be required to submit the adapted vehicle to a prescribed authorised inspection agent within a prescribed period and be required to obtain a prescribed document certifying such a vehicle has been adapted for the use by a person with a physical disability but this is NOT what this subregulation holds.

4.3.2.   No prescribed vehicle certification document for adapted motor vehicles exists anywhere in these regulations or any other legislation.

4.3.3.   Furthermore, there is no reference in this regulation as to whether a fee will or will not be levied against the owner of such vehicle for such inspection to take place. It is our submission that no fee should be levied for such an inspection since it would be unreasonable to financially prejudice a person who is already disabled and has to incur expenses an able bodied individual would not have to incur in having his or her vehicle adapted for use by a physically disabled person.

4.4.        Subregulation (3)(a) states that “a person who registers a vehicle as an exempt adapted vehicle must also provide the Agency with the information contemplated in the attached Annexure A in addition to the documents contemplated in sub-regulation (2) in respect of each vehicle, by completing such Annexure and submitting the completed Annexure to the Agency, together with the vehicle identification number and the date of issue of the current licence certificate for each vehicle”.

4.4.1.    No specific documentation whatsoever is contemplated in subregulation (2) nor is it contemplated anywhere else in these regulations or its annexures. It will therefore be impossible for the owner of an adapted vehicle to provide any such undefined “documents” (plural) as are vaguely alluded to in subregulation (3)(a).

5.    Information required and procedures applicable in respect of exempt NGO vehicles.

5.1.        It is submitted that the title of regulation 5 is deficient insofar as it refers only to “NGO vehicles” whilst the contents of this regulation refer to “NGO and NPO vehicles”.

5.2.        Additionally, Part B of the form contemplated in “Schedule A” only makes reference to NGOs and makes no reference to NPOs. It therefore stands to reason that a NPO has no way to make application for exemption from liability to pay e-tolls unless it is to be assumed that a NGO and a NPO are the same thing, which they most definitely are not.

5.3.        Subregulation (2)(a) states that “A person who registers a vehicle as an exempt NGO vehicle must also provide the Agency with the information contemplated in the attached Annexure A in addition to the documents contemplated in sub-regulation (2) in respect of each vehicle, by completing such Annexure and submitting the completed Annexure to the Agency, together with the vehicle identification number and the date of issue of the current licence certificate for each vehicle”. Subregulation 2 (this regulation) does not contemplate any documentation other than the form in “Schedule A” and that form does not make any reference to any other documentation.

6.    Information required and procedures applicable in respect of rebate for persons conveying persons with disabilities.

6.1.        Subregulation (1) states that “The owner of the vehicle must submit a monthly claim form for the rebate in the format shown in Annexure B, and if approved the rebate will appear as a discount on the user's next monthly statement.”

6.1.1.   This effectively means that such a person is expected to spend a significant amount of time, money and effort simply trying to comply with this and the further requirements specified in subregulation (2).

6.2.        Subregulation (2) proceeds to set out the various requirements applicable to claiming such rebates and requires the following:

6.2.1.   “(a) a statement confirming particulars of trips where the disabled person or persons were conveyed;”

6.2.1.1.       By direct implication, this means that such a person will be required to maintain a separate log book detailing each and every trip they make in the conveyance of a person with a disability. This places an onerous administrative burden on such a person.

6.2.2.   “(b) a statement that the vehicle was used to convey persons who qualify as persons with disabilities, being persons who have long term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which, in interaction with various barriers, may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others, or a medical condition such as autism, mental health, epilepsy loss of hearing, and which disability is permanent and impairs functional mobility;”

6.2.2.1.       Also by direct implication, this means that should a person who suffers an injury or contracts a condition which specifically excludes them from driving or using public transport and which injury or condition does not constitute a permanent disability will be discriminated against and expected to pay e-tolls despite the fact that they are temporarily disabled for whatever length of time at the time.

6.2.3.   “(c) a statement that public transport appropriate for use by the person or persons with the disability is not available;”

6.2.3.1.       SANRAL and the Department of Transport should be as aware as anyone else of the fact that only a small proportion of vehicles they choose to call “public transport” cater for persons with disabilities.

6.2.3.2.       Even if one completely removes minibus taxis, none of which cater for persons with disabilities from the equation, few other forms of public transport cater for persons with disabilities.

6.2.3.3.       None of them, except metered taxis cater for the conveyance of persons with disabilities directly from their homes, to the exact destination they need to get to and back again.

6.2.3.4.       It is therefore ridiculous that anyone should be required to provide such a statement.

6.2.4.   The term “statement” utilised in all three of the foregoing subregulations is vague insofar as it does not make reference to whether such a document would need to be attested before a commissioner of oaths.

6.2.4.1.       We do however note that the form contemplated in “Annexure B” makes provision for all of the “statements” referred to on the form itself and it would therefore appear that these “statements” are not intended to be separate documents.

6.2.5.   “(d) particulars of the vehicle or vehicles as indicated on the form.”

6.2.5.1.   Obviously, we have no objections to this requirement if a rebate system is to be employed.

6.3.        Subregulation (3) then goes on to state that “The form mentioned in sub -regulation (1) must be accompanied by a certificate from a medical practitioner registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa, including an impairment questionnaire, certifying that the person or persons qualify under paragraph (b) of sub-regulation (2).”

6.3.1.   This regulation is vague since it makes no prescribed “certificate”, nor any “impairment questionnaire” is prescribed anywhere in these regulations.

6.3.2.   If the NaTIS form “MC – MC(7)(2005/11)” is intended to be used for this purpose, then the regulations should state as much although we submit that this document is not fit for the purpose of these regulations.

6.3.3.   There is no mention as to the period under which the so-called “certificate from a medical practitioner registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa…” will be considered to be valid.

6.3.3.1.       Due to this lacuna, it will be up to persons unknown at SANRAL to decide what validity period will be so applied to this document.

6.3.3.2.       Should a disabled person be required to obtain a new “certificate” each month that a rebate is being sought, not only will this be extremely inconvenient and time consuming, but the associated costs therewith will additionally outweigh the possible rebates that will be afforded to them.

7.    Procedures applicable to all exemptions.

7.1.        This regulation number is a duplicate regulation number of the forgoing regulation in this gazette (government gazette No. 39130). It is numbered as “6” whereas it should be numbered as regulation “7”.

7.1.1.   This kind of error is sloppy at best and demonstrates the lack of care that is taken when drafting legislation.

7.1.2.   We have previously stated that we find it unacceptable that the Department of Transport and its State Owned Enterprises appear to be of the opinion that it is the responsibility of the public and civic organisations to check their work for grammatical and other errors. We reiterate that we find the lack of care taken offensive.

7.2.        Subregulation (1)(b) states that “a document identifying the person who registered with the Agency will be issued by the Agency, if so decided by the Agency, which document is neither renewable nor transferable and which must be kept in the vehicle or on the person of the user when using an e-road for which exemption or rebate has been granted.”

7.2.1.   Subregulation (4) then goes on to place a duty upon this person to “apply to the Agency for renewal of the registration not less than 30 days prior to the registration having lapsed”.

7.2.2.   Subregulation (1) therefore acts as a direct contradiction of subregulation (4) and vice versa, insofar as subregulation (1)(b) states that this “document is neither renewable nor transferable” while subregulation (4) requires the person to apply to renew it not less than 30 days prior to it lapsing.

7.3.        Subregulation (2)(b) states that “the e -tag issued by the Agency for each such vehicle must, in order for the vehicle to be exempt from the payment of toll, be affixed to the relevant vehicle or vehicles of the user, as applicable, when using an e-road. This requirement shall however not apply to exempt public transport vehicles, prior to such vehicles having been registered with the Agency.”

7.3.1.   We have to question why the specific exclusion of public transport vehicles has been made in this subregulation and further ask if this means that vehicles purporting to be public transport vehicles will be regarded as automatically exempt, regardless of whether they are registered or not as this appears to imply?

7.3.2.   If this is not the case, then what would the purpose be of including the sentence “This requirement shall however not apply to exempt public transport vehicles, prior to such vehicles having been registered with the Agency”?

7.4.        Subregulation (3)(b) states that “The person who registers the vehicle with the Agency and for which exemption has been granted by the Agency must notify the Agency within 24 hours after he, she or it becomes aware of the theft of the motor vehicle”.

7.4.1.   Why would such a person have to make such a notification to the Agency, given the fact that the Agency is a State Owned Corporation which has unfettered access to the NaTIS registry and should have built in vehicle flagging capabilities within its systems to assist the South African Police Service which places an administrative mark on the NaTIS system identifying such a vehicle as stolen.

7.4.2.   Whilst we realise that the Agency has no interest in using its systems for purposes of law enforcement and crime prevention/detection, except where it suits it to do so in chasing down e-tolls defaulters, it is untenable that such an allegedly sophisticated system should not be used to benefit society, instead of simply benefiting the Agency and its business partners.

7.5.        Subregulation (3)(c) states that “The person who registers the vehicle with the Agency and for which exemption has been granted by the Agency must furnish information regarding the motor vehicle which is or may have been at any time in his, her or its possession to any traffic officer or national transport inspector, if requested to do so”.

7.5.1.    We have to ask what the purpose of this subregulation is given the fact that any person who is operating any vehicle on any public road is already compelled by the National Road Traffic Act, No 93 of 1996 to furnish such information to a traffic officer.

7.5.2.   We also have to ask what a “national transport inspector” is, since no such thing exists in these regulations or elsewhere in any other legislation in South Africa.

7.6. Subregulation 3(d) then goes on to say “The person who registers the vehicle with the Agency and for which exemption has been granted by the Agency must notify the Agency of any declaration that the motor vehicle has been declared unfit for use within 24 hours after the motor vehicle has been declared unfit”.

7.6.1.   Once again, we have to ask why would such a person have to make such a notification to the Agency, given the fact that the Agency is a State Owned Corporation which has unfettered access to the NaTIS registry and should have inbuilt vehicle flagging capabilities incorporated in its systems; to identify any motor vehicle which has been declared unfit for use since this is entered on the NaTIS registry by any authority which declares any such vehicle as unfit for use.

7.6.2.   It is naïve at best to expect any person to notify the Agency of any such occurrence.

7.7.        Subregulation (9)(b) states that “Exemption from the payment of toll will lapse where the vehicle which is exempt from the payment of toll enters an e-road without the e-tag properly affixed to the vehicle: Provided that this requirement shall not apply to exempt public transport vehicles prior to such vehicles having been registered with the Agency”.

7.7.1.   We have to question how exactly the Agency intends identifying any class of motor vehicle as being a “public transport” vehicle, given the fact that minibus taxis are rarely branded.

7.7.2.   This peculiar provision appears to directly imply that vehicles appearing to be public transport vehicles will be regarded as exempt from payment of e-tolls, regardless of whether they are registered as exempt public transport vehicles and have an e-tag or not.

7.7.3.   Furthermore, it is no secret that e-tags and RFID are not perfect technologies and don’t always work when passing under gantries. The automatic lapse of exemption associated therewith means that should an e-tag fail to function on a single gantry pass, the owner thereof will be prejudiced by the Agency by virtue of the fact that they will have their exemption lapsed due to SANRAL’s own equipment failing.

7.8.        Subregulation (10) states that “Where a person is required by any provision contained in these regulations to give notice to the Agency of any occurrence or for purposes of complying with any provision of these regulations, then such notice must be given by one of the methods contemplated in regulation 6(10) of the e-Road Regulations”.

7.8.1.   Regulation 6(10) of the proposed e-Road Regulations as detailed in this government gazette refers to how “The Agency must notify the user of an outstanding toll amount as contemplated in sub-regulations (3) and (5)” thereof.

7.8.2.   As a direct consequence, such person may post such notification to themselves, email it to themselves or SMS themselves instead of to the Agency and this is simply nonsensical.

7.9.        Whilst we are aware of the fact that the National Road Traffic Act, No 93 of 1996 makes no provision for a specific registration category for a vehicle which has been adapted for the use of persons with disabilities, such vehicles are rarely, if ever reverted to their original state by such a person unless the vehicle is disposed of by that disabled person to an able bodied person, as opposed to another physically disabled person.

7.9.1.   The fact that an exemption will only be valid for a period of three years from the date of issue, suggests that a person who drives an adapted vehicle will have to go through the entire rigmarole of re-registering their vehicle for exemption every three years.

7.9.2.   We submit that a person who drives a vehicle which has been adapted for the use of persons with disabilities should be issued with an exemption for an indefinite period and only if that vehicle is sold to another person should the new owner be subjected to the re-registration process.

8.    Requirements for owner of vehicle for which a rebate is claimed.

8.1.        Due to the error with the previous regulation, this regulation is similarly incorrectly numbered. It is numbered as “7” whereas it should be regulation “8”.

8.2.        The form contained in “Annexure B”, which is the form to be used by people claiming a rebate for transporting persons who have a disability has under section 3 therein a peculiar provision asking for “details of adaption”.

8.2.1.   If this form is to be used by a person other than a disabled person driving an adapted motor vehicle, what is the purpose of this question since an able bodied person will almost definitely not be driving an adapted vehicle?

8.2.2.   The form then goes on, under section 5 thereof to provide a mere 3 lines for the person who completes it to provide details of trips conveying disabled persons, and makes no provision for more than a handful of trips. It does not say “attach a schedule of such trips if there is insufficient space”.

9.    General comments with respect to exemptions and rebates.

9.1.        At the outset, we submit that these regulations and their associated exemptions and rebates fall dismally short of properly addressing the specific needs of persons with disabilities, which persons make up a significant proportion of the total population.

9.1.1.   We further submit that the entire rebate system contemplated in regulation 6 places an onerous administrative burden upon any person who wishes to render mobility assistance to a person with any disability and further fails to address the needs of disabled persons.

9.1.2.   While motor vehicles which have been specifically adapted for the use of disabled persons most certainly do exist, such adaptions are far from cheap and only a small proportion of disabled persons are privileged enough to be able to afford them. It therefore stands to reason that only a very small proportion of disabled persons will be able to take advantage of this exemption.

9.2.        A far better and simpler way for all concerned to address this issue would be for the Agency to cater for all disabled persons to acquire their own e-tag, to be used in their personal capacities when travelling with an able bodied person and for that e-tag to identify the transactions incurred as being exempt from e-toll charges.

9.2.1.   This would obviate the necessity to place an administrative burden on both, the person who conveys a disabled person and the Agency itself since neither would be required to submit and process claims for rebates. It would furthermore be administratively efficient and reduce, or indeed eradicate the possibility of fraud being committed.

9.2.2.   It is further noted that in order to qualify for this rebate, the owner of the vehicle in question must have an e-tag and be operating a prepaid account with the Agency. This appears to be yet another attempt to force the registration of e-tag accounts by attrition since a person who does not have a registered prepaid e-tag user account with SANRAL will be specifically excluded from claiming such rebates.

9.2.3.   In order to operate a prepaid e-tag account with SANRAL, the user thereof is compelled to accept and sign the August 2012 terms and conditions (Doc number- 382-QAS-04-TEM-900422 Revision-02.00) which have been acknowledged as not being compliant with the Consumer Protection Act. No amendments to these terms and conditions have been proposed or published since their inception.

9.3.        It is noted that despite the vociferous claims of government and SANRAL acting in the interests of “the poor” by implementing e-tolls, no provision whatsoever has been made for pensioners, unemployed persons and other low income individuals insofar as exemption and/or rebates are concerned.

9.3.1.   There still exists no objective means test for the affordability of e-tolls to persons of low or no income and the SANRAL Act’s specific exclusion from the provisions of the National Credit Act, No 34 of 2005 further exacerbates this situation for persons in financial distress.

9.4. We specifically draw your attention to our comments under the section entitled “Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, Toll Roads: Exemption from the Payment of Toll (Pages 56 through 60) later in this document.

E-ROAD REGULATIONS (PAGES 26 THROUGH 40).

1.    Definitions

1.1.        It is specifically noted that "user" means a person driving or using a motor vehicle on a toll road and "used" or "driven" or any like word has a corresponding meaning as this has specific relevance to other points raised in this document.

1.1.1.   Due to this new definition existing, it stands to reason that a natural person, as opposed to a vehicle should be able to register with the Agency and be assigned an e-tag for their exclusive use in any motor vehicle they operate or, in the case of disabled persons and others, travel in.

1.1.2.   This has particular relevance to the forgoing inputs we have made on the proposed rebate system which we contend is administratively burdensome on all concerned and on comments made later in this document.

2.    System of registration

2.1. Regulation 1 states that “Any person who wishes to be registered for purposes of their use of an e-road, as
(a) a day -pass user; or
(b) a user with an e-toll account,
may do so in terms of these regulations.”

2.1.1.   This further adds impetus to the fact that a natural person may register themselves as a user without specifically being associated with a particular motor vehicle.

3.    Registration of a day-pass user

3.1. Regulation 4(5) states that “A day-pass must be used on an e-road, for which the vehicle was registered for the day-pass within 30 days from the date of purchase, failing which the day pass shall expire”.

3.1.1.   It has to be asked why it is that a day-pass would have to be used within 30 days of purchase, given the fact that purchasing one constitutes an up-front payment and the tariffs and associated day-pass prices should be fixed for the entire financial year.

3.1.2.   This bizarre provision is not dissimilar to expiring airtime on cell phone networks which has been criticised by the National Consumer Commission as violating the provisions of Consumer Protection Act.

3.1.3.   Why would it be deemed necessary to disallow a person who has paid the Agency in advance from using their day pass and force them to forfeit the money they have paid therefor if they do not use it within 30 days? This provision is ridiculous at best and bears testimony to the greed demonstrated by the Agency.

4.    Use of an e-road

4.1. Regulation 5(8)(c) states that “All users must ensure that his, her or its current address is on record with the appropriate registering authority as required by the National Road Traffic Regulations, 2000 made under the National Road Traffic Act and notify the Agency of any change of such address within 14 days from the date that the change took place.”

4.1.1.      Whilst the first part of this regulation is reasonable, the second part which reads “and notify the Agency of any change of such address within 14 days from the date that the change took place” is unreasonable and unlikely to be complied with.

4.1.1.1.   Regulation 32A of the National Road Traffic Regulations, 2000 prescribes that a person whose address particulars change at any time must update them using the form NCP within 21 days of the change of their particulars. There should not be inconsistency between the National Road Traffic Regulations, 2000 and the e-road regulations.

4.1.1.2.   The Agency has, by virtue of the fact that it is a State Owned Company, full and unfettered access to the NaTIS registry and it if it is using its own database to determine the address particulars of a user, it should be comparing this to records contained in the NaTIS registry.

4.1.1.3.   Furthermore, proposed amendments to the National Road Traffic Regulations will impose a duty upon registered vehicle owners to comply with similar requirements to RICA and FICA to prove that their registered address is in fact the address at which they reside.

4.1.1.4.   It is ridiculous for the Agency to then expect such a person to go through a further process with the Agency, which clearly holds little or no regard for the value of people’s time.

5.    Terms and conditions for payment of toll

5.1. Regulation 6(5) states that “If a user who does not have an e-toll account and is not a day-pass user does not pay the toll contemplated in terms of sub-regulation (4) within the time and at the place and subject to the conditions that the Agency may make known and determine, the Agency must after a period of seven days but not later than 60 days after such user has used an e-road and unless the user has subsequently registered with the Agency, notify the user, in the manner contemplated in sub-regulation (10), of the amount of the toll payable and such toll must be paid by the said user on or before the date for payment of which the user is notified in the notification by the Agency”.

5.1.1.   It is interesting to note that the Agency has no obligation to inform the user, which is additionally an incorrect term and should be “the registered owner” who will ultimately be held responsible for payment of the incursion of toll at any time prior to the 7 days’ “grace period” expiring so that such user may take advantage of the “time-of-day discount”, etc.

5.1.2.   Due to this omission, the Agency deliberately seeks to impose a higher tariff on all users other than those who pay it in advance.

5.1.3.   Regulation 6(5) then goes further to make allowance for this notification to be sent at any time between seven and sixty days, meaning that the effective term for payment is extended to ninety days from the date and time where the gantry was passed under, presuming that a 30 day term is allowed for payment of that invoice.

5.1.4.   Whilst persons who are notified towards the latter part of this period would have no cause to complain about being given a longer term to settle their bill, a person who is notified on the eighth day would effectively have 52 less days to pay than a person who is notified at the 60 day threshold.

5.1.5.   This effectively means that people will be extended unequal terms to pay, based on little more than the luck of the draw.

5.1.6.   In order for the constitutional requirement of equality and equal benefit before the law as is enshrined in Section 9(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 to be met, each and every notification for unregistered users must be made on the first day after the expiry of the seven day “grace period” – i.e. on the eighth day. If this does not happen, then different people will be treated differently by the Agency and this does not equate to “equal benefit before the law”.

5.1.7.   All of this is of course assuming that the tariff payable and term within it should be paid will be calculated from the date of the notification being sent. In the absence of a proper invoice being generated, it would appear that it is being proposed that the Agency may send a notification to an unregistered user to pay up to 60 days after they have incurred toll, at which stage the user will be expected to pay double the toll tariff due to the various “grace periods” built into this complicated, yet vage system.

5.2. Regulation 6(6) states that “The Agency may follow criminal and civil process to collect all outstanding tolls if, despite notification, the user continues to fail to pay such outstanding tolls within the period specified in the notification by the Agency”.

5.2.1.      It is interesting to note that, despite claims having been made by the Minister of Transport to the effect that the AARTO Act, No 46 of 1998 will be used to prosecute e-toll offenders, the Department of Transport and/or SANRAL remains fixated on seeking to artificially criminalise the nation.

5.2.2.      It is again submitted that this is a direct contravention of the AARTO Act and all that it is intended to achieve which Act makes direct provision for the non-payment of tolls.

5.3. Regulation 6(9) states that “Any user of an e-road who, through such use, becomes liable to pay toll may request an invoice from the Agency at any e-toll customer centre alternatively may obtain an invoice on the website, failing which the Agency shall not be obliged to provide invoices to any user, save as provided for elsewhere in these regulations”.

5.3.1.         It is noted that this provision, coupled with the forgoing provisions requiring the Agency to notify the person concerned seeks to remove the previous obligation for SANRAL to issue and post invoices to users.

5.3.2.         Furthermore, since a user has 30 days from the date of invoice to pay the tariff, after which it will be doubled, in the absence of an invoice, no start or end date will ever be possible.

5.3.3.         The requirement that such user needs obtain an invoice by visiting an e-toll customer centre or utilising the e-toll website further fails to address the needs of persons who do not reside within a close proximity of these customer centres and who may not have access to the internet.

5.3.4.         The automatic assumption of the Agency that every motor vehicle owner has access to the internet and/or should incur additional e-tolls in order to visit a customer centre is not only misinformed, but is untenable as well.

5.3.5.         It must also be noted that, in its pathetic attempts to secure its website from hackers, SANRAL has implemented measures which deny access to all but what it regards as local South African IP addresses. This measure has also had the effect of denying access to its website from IP addresses which are in fact local IP address ranges but are not contained in its access lists. An example of this is the Telkom Mobile IP address range 159.xxx.xxx.xxx.

5.3.6.         It must also be noted that persons who reside in any country outside of South Africa are specifically denied access to the Agency’s website in order to gain information on the GFIP prior to visiting the country and/or to obtain an invoice for tolls they incur. This too places such persons in an unconstitutionally inequitable situation before the law.

GAUTENG FREEWAY IMPROVEMENT PROJECT, TOLL ROADS: PUBLICATION OF TOLLS (PAGES 41 TO 50)

1.    Definitions

1.1.    We note that the “grace period” is defined as follows:
“grace period means in respect of:
(a) a user with an e-toll account, 31 days from the date and time that an e-toll transaction occurs; and
(b) a user without an e-toll account, seven days from the date and time that an e-toll transaction occurs.”

1.2. We further note that there are two different types of user defined in these regulations wherein:

1.2.1.    “a pre-paid user means a user of the GFIP toll roads who, at the time of an e-toll transaction, has:
(a) sufficient funds in his or her e-toll account to pay the toll that applies to the e-toll transaction;
(b) linked his or her e-toll account to a payment method acceptable to the Agency; or
(c) an agreement with the Agency to pay for e-toll transactions on a different basis from that contemplated in paragraph (a) or (b);”
and

1.2.2.    “a post-paid user means a user of the GFIP toll road who, at the time of an e -toll transaction, is not a pre-paid use”.

1.2.2.1.      These definitions appear to have replaced the definitions of the various registered users previously defined and now classifies all registered users as “pre-paid” users, regardless of whether they operate a true prepaid account or not and anyone else as a “post-paid” user.

1.2.2.2.      The term “prepaid”, in ordinary use, means “paid for in advance” and the contents of the definition of a “pre-paid user” directly contradicts this principle.

1.2.2.3.      It is therefore our submission that the term “pre-paid user” is incorrect and should be changed to “registered user” and the term “post-paid user” is similarly incorrect and should be changed to “unregistered user”.

1.2.2.4.      The seven days “grace period” for unregistered users is and remains unreasonable in the extreme, albeit that this period will presumably be extended by a further 23 days by the so-called “notification” they are sent but may not necessarily receive.

2.     Tariffs for users

2.1.    Regulation 3.2.1 states that “a pre-paid user pays the user tariff for the particular class of motor vehicle; and”

2.2.    Regulation 3.2.2 states that “a post-paid user, subject to the discount which may be applicable in terms of paragraph 5.10 below, pays double the user tariff for the particular class of motor vehicle”.

2.2.1.    In light of the inputs provided in paragraphs 1 supra, we submit that these provisions are confusing and should be amended.

2.3.    Regulation 3.3 states that “The user tariff includes value -added tax (VAT) as provided for in the Value- Added Tax Act, 1991 (Act No. 89 of 1991)”.

2.3.1.          If the Agency is not required to generate invoices, how exactly its VAT inputs calculated?

2.4.    It is noted that the tariff gazette now contains only a single tariff table (table 1) detailing the tariff applicable to each class of vehicle with respect to the 47 gantries tabled in it.

2.4.1.    This is a welcome amendment since it is significantly easier to understand than the previous system of registered and unregistered e-tag and VLN users plus alternative users.

2.4.2.    We would however hope that SANRAL chooses to amend its boards on the GFIP to read “registered user tariffs” and “double tariffs applicable to unregistered users who do not pay within 7 days” so that all motorists, most of whom do not ordinarily read government gazettes may be properly informed of the applicable tariffs and be informed properly of the maximum amount they will be expected to pay, as opposed to only informing them of the minimum they will be expected to pay; as has been the misleading behaviour of the Agency in the past.

3.    Discounts applying to tariffs

3.1.    Regulation 5.6 states that “The time-of-day discount will not apply to a user who pays for an e -toll transaction after the expiry of the applicable grace period”.

3.1.1.     Effectively, this means the time of day discount will apply to registered users for a period of 31 days, whilst unregistered users will not be entitled to it after a period of 7 days has elapsed.

3.1.2.      In our view, this is grossly unfair, given the fact that the entire purpose of this discount is apparently to encourage and offer a discount for using the freeways outside of peak times, over weekends and public holidays as opposed to during peak times.

1.1.1.    As alluded to supra, the seven day “grace period” for unregistered users specifically removes the time of day discount from any user who is not notified by the Agency of their liability to pay within seven days.

1.1.2.      This deliberate action therefore automatically contradicts statements made by the Deputy President, to the effect that “everyone will pay the same tariff”. Whilst it is true that the tariff will be the same, it is not true that everyone will pay the same amount if they pay within 30 days.

1.1.3.      It is unfortunate that SANRAL still remains stuck in the rut of punishing persons who do not wish to register with them by engaging in practices which financially prejudice such people. This practice is tantamount to unconscionable conduct.

1.1.4.      The time of day discount should be applicable to all who pay within 30 days of invoice.

1.1.5.      Regulation 5.6 should therefore be deleted since it serves no other purpose than to financially prejudice unregistered users.

1.2.    Regulation 5.9.3 states that “The following provisions are applicable to the frequent user discount in respect of a user of a specific motor vehicle where payment of e-toll transactions, incurred in a calendar month, is made to the Agency within 30 days of the date of an invoice issued by the Agency, the following is applicable…” (my emphasis)

1.2.1.          It is here too where not obliging SANRAL to issue an invoice falls to pieces, given the fact that the “caps” contemplated in regulations 5.9.3.1 through 5.9.4.2 fall to pieces and contradicts the provisions of these regulations since they become impossible in the absence of an invoice.

1.3.    Regulation 5.10 then goes on to say that “A post-paid user who pays toll, after an e-toll transaction but within 30 days of the date of the invoice issued by the Agency, will be granted a discount, at the time of payment, such that after such discount is applied the user will, in respect of each e-toll transaction where payment is made, pay the user tariff”. (my emphasis)

1.3.1.   From what we can determine, this means that an unregistered, will be charged the tariff reflected in table 1 if they pay within 30 days of the date of invoice, or double that tariff if they pay later than 30 days from the date of that invoice.

1.3.2.   Once again, in the absence of an obligatory invoice such a post-paid user will never qualify to pay the tariff which has not been doubled, alternatively, the Agency will never be entitled to charge that user double.

1.4.    If the forgoing does not amply demonstrate the fact that the Agency (SANRAL) MUST BE obliged to issue invoices, then nothing will.

2.    Once-off discount for payments made in respect of toll incurred under prior toll tariff notice Regulation

2.1.    We take note of regulations 5.12 through 5.14 and that they will have a pre-defined validity period to be made known by the Minister at some stage.

2.2.    What is not clear is whether the provisions of these regulations will be applicable from the date of promulgation of the e-road regulations.

2.3.    It is further noted that these regulations do not make any reference to extended payment terms for persons who have built up huge liabilities under the “previous dispensation”, the absence of which will most certainly render a high proportion of people completely incapable of paying them.

2.4.    We submit that if SANRAL and the Department of Transport wishes to convince a greater proportion of road users that “e-tolls are the better way to go”, they should, as an act of good faith, write off all outstanding amounts and allow motorists to start off with a clean slate from the effective date of the “new dispensation”.

2.5.    Failure to do so will simply result in a very small percentage of people coming forward to pay the huge credit liability that the Agency has allowed them to build up without so much as bothering to check if such persons will be able to afford to pay them.

2.6.    Notwithstanding the fact that the Agency and the SANRAL Act is specifically exempted from the National Credit Act, this anomaly has allowed the Agency to act as a grossly reckless “lender”. Extension of further “payment terms” in the absence of compliance with affordability provisions under the National Credit Act, which we are acutely aware the Agency has been specifically exempted from will result in reckless lending practices, but then again, the entire e-toll system is just that – a reckless extension of credit to people, regardless of whether they can afford to pay or not.

2.7.    It must be remembered that albeit that a large proportion of road users have chosen not to pay e-tolls, the Agency and Department of Transport have chosen to allow this situation to prevail for almost two years and must therefore shoulder at least some of the responsibility for the huge bills it has allowed to build up over that time. A 60% “discount” on these amounts simply does not cut it.

3.    Infrequent user dispensation

3.1.    Regulation 5.16 states that “The infrequent user dispensation applies separately to each motor vehicle used on the GFIP toll roads, irrespective of the user or ownership of the motor vehicle, but does not apply to day pass users.”

3.1.1.   This is confusing, given that a day pass user purchases a day pass entitling them to pass under as many gantries as they wish during a 24 hour period.

3.1.2.   Whilst a day pass is in use, will the count-up to 30 transactions be suspended and resume after the period of validity of the day pass expires? This is not contemplated under the “infrequent user dispensation”.

3.2.    Regulation 5.17 states that “All users, other than day pass users, of the GFIP toll roads will, in respect of each e-toll transaction in a year up to and including, the thirtieth e-toll transaction, be obliged to pay the toll levied by the Agency in respect of such e-toll transactions by no later than the expiry of the grace period applicable to the user following the thirty first e-toll transaction in that year. In such circumstances the user will pay the toll applicable in respect of the thirty first e-toll transaction together with the toll payable in respect of the previous 30 e-toll transactions”.

3.2.1.   This regulation is gobbledygook and makes no sense whatsoever in the context of the “infrequent user dispensation”.

3.3.    Similarly, regulation 5.18 which reads “All discounts applicable in respect of the first 30 e-toll transactions shall continue to apply upon payment contemplated in 5.17, and apply to a particular motor vehicle and not an e-toll account” makes no sense.

3.4.    Regulations 5.17 and 5.18 therefore have no relevance and should be deleted.

3.5.    Regulation 5.19 which reads “If a user of a particular motor vehicle only incurs 30 or fewer e-toll transactions on the GFIP toll roads in a year, such user's obligation to pay toll in that year shall be nil” does make sense and fits in with what was announced by Deputy President Ramaphosa.

3.6.    This regulation should possibly be followed by a regulation which states:
“Should an infrequent user exceed 30 transactions in any financial year, they will be liable to pay for all transactions incurred including the first 30 transactions, provided that the date of liability therefor shall be calculated from the 31st transaction onwards”.

DRAFT NOTICE PROVIDING REBATE GAUTENG FREEWAY IMPROVEMENT PROJECT, TOLL ROADS: REBATE ON THE PAYMENT OF TOLL (PAGES 51 THROUGH 54)

1.    We have no further comments to make on this notice which have not been dealt with in our comments on the exemptions and rebates regulations.

GAUTENG FREEWAY IMPROVEMENT PROJECT, TOLL ROADS: EXEMPTION FROM THE PAYMENT OF TOLL (PAGES 56 THROUGH 60)

1.    We note that regulation 2(a) specifically refers to “vehicles used by traffic officers, as defined in section 1 of the National Road Traffic Act, 1996 (Act No. 93 of 1996), employed by the Provincial Government of Gauteng or the Road Traffic Management Corporation” however these vehicles are not contemplated at all in the regulations.

1.1.    It is noted that marked vehicles used by the following are specifically excluded from exemption:

1.1.1.   The Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD);

1.1.2.   The Tshwane Metropolitan Police Department (TMPD);

1.1.3.   The Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police Department (EMPD); and

1.1.4.   The South African Police Service (SAPS).

1.1.5.    Because vehicles operated by these entities often respond to emergencies, which emergencies may or may not be due to crashes on the GFIP and are the most common responders to such emergencies, it seems bizarre that they should be specifically excluded from exemption.

1.1.6.    In practical terms, Metropolitan Police Departments provide scene safety services at crashes on the GFIP significantly more frequently than the Gauteng Provincial Department of Community Safety and the National Traffic Police do and such services are essential to preventing secondary crashes and keeping traffic moving.

1.1.7.    In addition, the manpower employed by a single Metropolitan Police Department far exceeds the combined manpower of the Gauteng Provincial Department of Community Safety and the National Traffic Police combined.

1.1.8.    Furthermore, the Metropolitan Police Departments cited above occasionally provide law enforcement services on the GFIP and if they are going to be charged e-tolls in order to do so, it is highly likely that they will further reduce their visible policing presence on the GFIP, except of course with respect to camera speed enforcement exercises which rake in billions annually.

1.1.9.    Insofar as the South African Police Service goes, SAPS often uses the GFIP in order to respond to a wide array of emergencies, including but not limited to violent crimes, armed robberies, etc. where the speed of their response can mean the difference between people living or dying. It is also the vehicles of the SAPS forensic pathology services which remove deceased persons from crash scenes. We further submit that SAPS is exempt from toll and these regulations are in conflict with the SAPS Act.

1.1.10. It is therefore our submission that such marked vehicles operated by all of these entities should be exempted from payment of e-tolls, but we further wish to draw your attention to our inputs with respect to the SAPS Act below.

1.2.    Whilst it comes as no surprise to us that both, the Agency and the Department of Transport, despite being part of government are seemingly blissfully unaware of other legislation which exists in South Africa, we feel that it is necessary to point out that the Agency is in clear violation of the South African Police Services Act, No 68 of 1995 and has been since the inception of e-tolling.

1.2.1.    Specifically, the South African Police Services Act, No 68 of 1995 makes specific provision with respect to tolls.

1.2.1.1.            Section 61 of the aforementioned Act reads as follows:
“61.          Exemption from tolls, fees and fees of office.—
(1)          Subject to subsection (3), any member who, in the exercise of his or her powers or the performance of his or her duties or functions finds it necessary to enter, pass through or go over any wharf, landing place, ferry, bridge, toll-bar, gate or door at or in respect of which any toll, fee or fee of office may be lawfully demanded, shall be exempted from the payment of such toll, fee or fee of office in respect of himself or herself, every person under his or her arrest and any animal, means of transport or property which he or she may require in the exercise of such powers or the performance of such duties or functions: Provided that if such member is not in uniform, he or she shall, upon a request by any person who may demand such toll, fee or fee of office, disclose his or her identity by exhibiting to such person his or her certificate of appointment.
(2)          Any person who may demand any such toll, fee or fee of office, and who subjects any such member, person, animal, means of transport or property to unreasonable delay or detention in respect of the entry to, passage through or going over any such wharf, landing place, ferry, bridge, toll-bar, gate or door, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months.
(3)          The National or Provincial Commissioner may, if he or she deems it necessary, with regard to the nature of the powers, duties or functions of a member, order that subsection (1) is not applicable to such member, in which event any toll, fee or fee of office contemplated in subsection (1), shall be payable.”

1.2.1.2.            Section 61(1) holds that all SAPS members, which includes any person appointed as a peace officer in terms of that Act, namely Metro Policemen and Police Reservists are exempt from ALL tolls.

1.2.1.3.            Section 61(2) holds that any person who demands such payment shall be guilty of an offence “and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months”.

1.2.1.3.1.        It must be noted that the seriousness of this offence is regarded as being twice as serious as not paying toll as is contemplated in the SANRAL Act.

1.2.1.3.2.           It therefore follows that persons at the Agency who have made such demands upon SAPS members are guilty of this offence and should be prosecuted accordingly.

1.2.1.4.                To our knowledge, neither the National nor Provincial commissioner has to date issued a directive that SAPS members must pay e-tolls and therefore Section 61(3) of that Act is inapplicable at this stage.

1.3. It is our contention that all SAPS members, regardless of which vehicle they are driving and regardless of whether they are “on duty” or not are exempt from the payment of tolls.

1.3.1.    It has been held by Rabie v Minister of Police 1984 1 SA 786 (W), that
“: ‘When a member of the South African Police Force is off duty it cannot be suggested that his statutory duties as a member of the Force or that his authority are suspended’ (791F)”.

1.3.2.    This decided case establishes that regardless of whether a member of the South African Police Service is officially “on duty” or not, he or she is regarded as being what is effectively on duty at all times.

1.3.3.    Since Metro Police forces are formed under the SAPS Act, the same is true of any Metro Policeman or woman.

1.4. It therefore follows that if the Agency wishes to cease contravening the South African Police Services Act, No 68 of 1995 it must issue e-tags to each and every member of the South African Police Service, as well as each and every Metro Policeman/woman in South Africa.

2.    The definition of persons with disabilities contained in regulation 3 is inappropriate insofar as the operation of adapted motor vehicles goes.

2.1.    The definition in this gazette reads as follows “Persons with disabilities means persons who have long term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which, in interaction with various barriers, may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others”.

2.2.    We again submit that adapted motor vehicles are so adapted for the use of persons with physical disabilities and cannot ever be adapted to cater for persons with mental, intellectual or sensory impairments.

CONDITIONS FOR TOLL: GAUTENG FREEWAY IMPROVEMENT PROJECT USING ELECTRONIC TOLL COLLECTION (PAGES 61 THROUGH 67)

1.    We note that the definition of a “pre-paid user” is defined as follows:
“pre-paid user means a user of the GFIP toll roads who, at the time of an e-toll transaction, has
(a) sufficient funds in his or her e-toll account to pay the toll that applies to the e-toll transaction;
(b) linked his or her e-toll account to a payment method acceptable to the Agency; or
(c) an agreement with the Agency to pay for e-toll transactions on a different basis from that contemplated in paragraphs (a) or (b); and”

1.1.    The trailing “and” at the end of the definition appears to be out of place.

1.2.    This definition appears to have replaced the definition of the various registered users previously defined and now classifies all registered users as “pre-paid” users, regardless of whether they operate a true prepaid account or not.

1.3.    The term “prepaid”, in ordinary use, means “paid for in advance” and the contents of this definition directly contradicts this principle.

1.4.    It is therefore our submission that the term “pre-paid user” is incorrect and should be changed to “registered user” and the term “post-paid user” is similarly incorrect and should be changed to “unregistered user”.

2.    Regulation 5 states that “A user with an e -toll account must pay for e -toll transactions according to the Terms and Conditions, which Terms and Conditions are agreed to by the user. The Terms and Conditions for such users are available via the call centre, on the website, via e-mail and at e -toll customer service centres.”

2.1.  We again point out that the “Terms and Conditions” referred to herein and available at the SANRAL website and Customer Service Centres are currently dated 29 August 2012 (Doc number- 382-QAS-04-TEM-900422 Revision-02.00) and have been acknowledged by the National Consumer Commission as being noncompliant with the Consumer Protection Act, No 68 of 2008.

2.2. SANRAL and the National Consumer Commission have had more than three years to consult with one another to bring these terms and conditions in line with the Consumer Protection Act and yet SANRAL appears to have made no progress in this regard and the National Consumer Commission appears to be continuing to turn a blind eye to its noncompliance.

3.    Regulation 7 states that “A post-paid user with an e-toll account must pay for an e-toll transaction in accordance with the requirements of the terms and conditions under which that person is registered.”

3.1.  This appears to be a contradiction of the definition of a post-paid user since the definitions make it appear that a pre-paid user is a registered user and a post-paid user is an unregistered user.

4.    With reference to “Annexure A” of this notice, we wish to draw your attention to the statement made about mobile pay stations which reads as follows “The Mobile Payment Stations are motor vehicles which are SANRAL and e-toll branded and equipped to enable users to make e-toll payments. These vehicles will be located alongside the GFIP toll roads and at shopping centres”.

4.1.    Whilst we have no objection to such mobile pay stations frequenting shopping centres and other locations off public roads used by motorists to commute, we do have an objection to them being dispatched to stop on freeways, on-ramps to freeways and other public roads.

4.2.    Albeit that such vehicles have been illegally equipped with blue flashing identification lamps, they are not traffic police or police vehicles and should not violate the National Road Traffic Act and Regulations.

General submissions

1.    Once again, the unwieldy and practically complicated nature of e-tolling in the South African context has been highlighted by this conglomeration of proposed amendments.

2.    A further question arises with respect to the “30 free gantry passes” contemplated by the so-called “new dispensation”.

2.1. If it is to be held that infrequent users on the GFIP should get 30 free gantry passes per annum, then why is the same not true of all urban tolling projects that SANRAL has implemented in South Africa?

2.2. As an example, which is by no means extensive, the Bakwena toll gates in Pretoria, as well as the toll gates on the N17 freeway to/from the East Rand are also urban tolling projects, both of which are in Gauteng.

2.3. Why should infrequent users be expected to pay tolls at these plazas which, in terms of the definition of a “toll plaza” contained in the SANRAL Act are no different to e-toll gantries on the GFIP?

3.    We cannot reiterate enough the fact that the practice of issuing e-tags to vehicles and calling them “users” is wholly incompatible with exempting specific persons from e-tolls.

3.1. As contemplated supra, in order for specific exemptions of persons (not vehicles) to work without making such persons jump through hoops and perform massively burdensome administrative gymnastics, the only way that this can be achieved is for SANRAL to implement a system of registering individuals.

3.2. None of this would be in any way necessary if the foreign concept of e-tolling which is incompatible with South Africa’s socio-economic environment had not been shoved down the throats of South Africans.

We trust that the comments and inputs in this submission will be taken seriously.


Yours sincerely,


Howard Dembovsky

Chairperson - Justice Project South Africa (NPC)

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