Free e-tolling defence offer borders incitement – report

Free e-tolling defence offer borders incitement – report

The offer by South African legal firm Findlay & Niemeyer Inc to offer a free defence to the first e-tolling non-payer borders on incitement, according to a report by Sake24.

HumanIPO reported earlier today the company had offered the free defence as a test case after the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) warned motorists non-payers would be handed over to debt collectors.

But Patrick Bracher, director at legal firm Norton Rose Fulbright, told Sake24 this offer amounted to incitement to commit a crime as the Constitutional Court had ruled e-tolling was legal.

“Somebody could be motivated by this to break a law while being under the impression that it is not a valid law,” said Bracher.

Findlay & Niemeyer senior partner John Price had said in a statement: “In defending the test case, we will act on a contingency basis in the sense that we will charge no fees to the client and call for no deposit.

“The prospective test case client, and the basis of his or her complaint, would need to be carefully selected to ensure that the real toll road issues are put cogently before the court.”

Transport minister Dipuo Peters announced last week that e-tolling would go live on December 3 after president Jacob Zuma signed the Transport and Related Matters Amendment Bill into law in September, but opponents – including the Democratic Alliance (DA), the Freedom Front Plus (FFP), the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA), the QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA) and civil rights organisation AfriForum – have all vowed to continue the fight against the controversial policy.

HumanIPO reported last week justice minister Jeff Radebe had confirmed there will be no special courts established for non-payers of e-tolls, with prosecutions to take place in normal district courts.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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