Fresh legal threats in e-tolls saga
Lawyers representing roads agency Sanral have threatened legal action following a request for clarification on e-toll prosecutions, Justice Project South Africa said on Monday.
Lawyers representing roads agency Sanral have threatened legal action following a request for clarification on e-toll prosecutions, Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) said on Monday.
This follows JPSA stating on Friday they had addressed a letter to Sanral CEO Nazir Alli, transport minister Dipuo Peters, justice minister Jeff Radebe and national director of public prosecutions Mxolisi Nxasana.
The letter asked for details of the exact legal and administrative processes that would be followed for the collection of e-tolls and against those who did not pay.
If this was not forthcoming by noon on Friday, JPSA’s attorneys would approach the high court for clarity.
After sending the letter, JPSA received a response before noon on Friday from Werksmans Attorneys, acting on behalf of Sanral, chairman Howard Dembovsky said in a statement.
They were told among other things that Sanral was not in a position to clarify matters reported by members of the media, where such clarity should be sought from the reporters concerned.
All the information JPSA sought was contained in the various Government Gazettes about e-tolls, and should an application be brought to the courts, Sanral would seek a costs award against JPSA, with “such an application … an outright abuse of process”.
“While JPSA is not in the least bit disused to being outwardly insulted by Sanral, we cannot fathom why it would be that they and their lawyers would seek to completely fail to answer a single question [and] further threaten us in writing,” said Dembovsky.
“All we are doing is seeking clarity from the parties who are directly involved in e-tolls as to what processes will be used in the prosecution of e-toll transgressions”.
Apart from the fact that motorists were not legally obliged to get an e-tag or register with Sanral, none of the information JPSA sought clarity on was contained in any of the Government Gazettes, it said.
Furthermore, it was “unreasonable”, “sarcastic” and “childish” of Sanral to say JPSA should approach journalists to clarify reports which resulted from statements made by Alli, Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona and Peters, among others.
“If they are suggesting that the various parties have been ‘misquoted’ then they should say so and rather clarify the situation themselves, since they are in the best position to do so,” said Dembovsky.
“Due to the fact that people are being threatened with the imposition of criminal records against them, we feel that it is not in the least bit unreasonable of us to seek clarity on how and when this will happen.”
The threat of a costs order against JPSA was also another demonstration of the bullying tactics used by Sanral throughout the process.
“As a result, and because we are reasonable people, we have asked our legal team to again write to the various parties to request a proper, intelligible and sensible response from them.”
Should their response not be satisfactory, JPSA would consider approaching a high court for clarity on this matter.
On 20 November, Peters announced that the e-tolling of Gauteng’s highways would begin on Tuesday.
Mona was not immediately available for comment. — Sapa