The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) on Thursday said government had received more than 117 000 submissions in response to proposed amendments to the Administrative Adjudication of Traffic Offences Act (Aarto Act), which compel offenders to pay fines and e-tolls.
Outa chairperson Wayne Duvenhage said the response was arguably the largest amount of submissions ever received by government to proposed legislation amendments published in the Gazette.
Government intends to use the Aarto procedure to collect e-toll debts by: declaring non-payment of e-tolls as a violation of section 58(1) of the National Road Traffic Act; sending out infringement notices to motorists via normal mail, email or sms (as opposed to registered post in the past) and deeming the documentation has been received within 10 days of being sent.
In the event that a motorist doesn’t receive any of these documents and fails to settle these payments or fines, an enforcement order will be issued together with an automatic instruction to block the issuing of any motor vehicle licence, driver’s licence or permit.
Duvenhage said these amendments should be deemed unconstitutional and that they will make the administration of Aarto unworkable. He warned a revolt against the payment of vehicle licenses was also very likely.
He said that the overwhelming participation was an indication of growing active citizenry as well as another major step in the fight against government’s efforts to coerce motorists into paying e-tolls.
Government has made it clear that it was gearing up to use the Aarto Act and the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) to collect outstanding e-toll fines and debt, said Duvenhage.
“By doing so, Sanral through the RTIA, will attempt to coerce motorists into compliance by withholding vehicle licenses, drivers licenses and permits for non-payments of e-tolls,” said the Outa chairperson.
He said Outa had developed a multi-faced strategy to protect its members against government’s attempts to stifle their rights.
Duvenhage said comments made by Sanral’s general communications manager Vusi Mona on Wednesday that OUTA’s concerns were misplaced downplay the seriousness of the implications and consequences of these amendments should they be passed.
“If government follows through with these ludicrous amendments, we will be ready to challenge them,” said Duvenhage.
The deadline for comments was Wednesday, now OUTA said it awaits the government response.
Sanral and Outa have been locked in an ongoing battle since the e-toll system was launched on 3 December 2013.