Lawyers representing the the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) have hit back at the Justice Project SA (JPSA) for requesting information on the legal position of motorists who do not pay e-toll fines.
HumanIPO reported on Friday the JPSA had written to SANRAL and the Department of Transport in an attempt to clarify how the e-toll debt collection would proceed once the system goes live tomorrow, having receiving numerous enquiries from the public and the media for information.
Werksmans Attorneys, writing on behalf of SANRAL and copying in the minister of transport, the minister of justice and constitutional development and the national director of public prosecutions, said its client could not clarify matters and that all the relevant information could be found in the various Government Gazettes published relating to e-tolling.
“Such an application is an outright abuse of process and an appropriate costs award will be requested by our client at the hearing of any application brought by your client,” it read.
The JPSA has expressed bewilderment at the response.
In a statement, JPSA said: “Whilst 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; since 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.”
JPSA said other than the fact motorists are not legally obliged to register for e-tags, “none of the information we require clarity on” is in the Government Gazettes.
“Should we be forced to approach the High Court, we are reasonably confident that the court will not punish us for simply asking for clarity over statements which have resulted in an enormous amount of misinformation being disseminated by SANRAL and others,” said JPSA’s national chairman, Howard Dembovsky.
“We do not capitulate to threats of dire consequences aimed at shutting us up and SANRAL and others would need to explain to the court why it is that they feel that the prosecution processes surrounding e-tolls should be deemed to be a ‘State Secret’, should they choose to oppose the application as has been suggested.”
The latest legal challenge to e-tolling, brought by the Freedom Front Plus, is being heard at Gauteng North High Court in Pretoria today, with protesters against the system, due to go live tomorrow (Tuesday), present at the court also.
HumanIPO reported earlier today (Monday) more than 21,000 motorists have already registered for their e-tags.
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