Johannesburg – Those who default on e-toll payments can be taken to court, said the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral).
This follows the first default judgment delivered by the Pretoria high court for outstanding e-toll debt.
City Press reported on the ruling which declared that One Stop Building Supplies must pay Sanral R436 407.75 for driving through e-toll plazas in Gauteng between August 3 2013 and August 31 2015.
On October 24 last year, a warrant was served on One Stop’s owner, Naomi Strydom, which she failed to defend in court by 20 days later, City Press reported.
Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona said in a statement that the judgment sets a precedent for motorists and companies who do not pay e-toll debt to be taken to court. “It also means that the proof of the default submitted by Sanral was accepted by the court,” he said.
“We are confident that the default judgment in our favour will be persuasive for other courts when deciding subsequent cases,” he added.
Mona explained that the agency has a duty in terms of the Public Finance Management Act and Treasury Regulations to collect fees. “It’s an obligation we take seriously,” he said.
He added that there was not enough money allocated in the national budget for the debt. “There are urgent and competing demands on the budget, such as improved health care, education and social security payments. This makes it necessary and unavoidable to selectively use tolling as a funding mechanism.”
READ: Sanral judgment doesn't mean e-tolls are legal – OUTA
Last week the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) questioned the validity of the default judgment, claiming that the owner of the company had not received the summons.
“We made contact with the defendant concerned who claims that she never received the summons and therefore did not enter into a notice of intention to defend this matter,” OUTA chairperson Wayne Duvenage said in a statement.
“If this is indeed the case and she, the company owner, was never able to defend the case against her, she would likely have ground to have this default judgment rescinded.”
Duvenage added that the company was in liquidation at the time. “One must consider that in this instance, Sanral has issued a default judgement against a close corporation in liquidation and are bound to receive very little from their effort. It is tantamount to kicking someone when they’re down.”
Ben Theron, portfolio transport director, told Fin24 on Friday that the civil rights body would be looking into the matter. Theron said it is important for people who are served with a summons not to ignore it. “We advocate (that people be) law-abiding citizens.”Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter: