The Automobile Association (AA) has said that SANRAL’s statement about vehicle licence renewals being blocked in the event of the non-payment of e-tolls is “outrageous, dishonest, and irregular”.
Recent reports referencing statements from SANRAL claimed that outstanding toll fees must be settled before the renewal of a vehicle licence disc could take place.
“The non-payment of tolls may result in road users not being issued with their vehicle license disc, upon renewal of the vehicle licence. Road users will be able to renew licences, but the disc itself will be withheld until the outstanding toll related infringements have been settled,” states SANRAL’s website.
The AA said this provides the impression that “the issue of e-tolls is finalised when, in fact, it is still very much in the air”.
“By suggesting through this wording on their website and alluding to such in interviews that this is a done deal, SANRAL is again demonstrating how desperate it is to coerce the public into paying for something they have taken a principled stand against,” said the AA.
A heavy-handed approach
The AA said the statement from SANRAL also “raises questions” about how the organisation interacts with the public.
This was a “heavy-handed approach” compared to to one “genuinely interested in resolving the issue through the proper channels”.
Additionally, the licence renewal statement contradicts SANRAL’s previous position on suspending the pursual of outstanding e-tolls debt until a resolution on the future of e-tolls was announced, said the AA.
“We are gravely concerned that SANRAL perpetuates misinformation about tolls and discs while the [Department of Transport] is yet to pronounce on the matter.”
“It seems to us that SANRAL is attempting to pre-empt any announcement by the [Minister of Transport] on his decision regarding the future of e-tolls, and impose its own regulations on the public.”
The AA said the reality of the situation is that motorists have taken a stand against e-tolls and “simply won’t pay outstanding, current, or future fees”.
“They have wholly rejected e-tolls and will not participate in any collection scheme,” it said.