OUTA submits e-tolling complaint to public protector

OUTA submits e-tolling complaint to public protector

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) has submitted a 10,000 word complaint about the handling of e-tolling by the South African National Road Agency (SANRAL) to the public protector, accusing the state-owned company of breaching seven of the human rights contained in the country’s constitution.

OUTA has already failed in two court challenges to e-tolling, while it has recently become embroiled in war of words with SANRAL, accusing it of deceiving itself and fabricating figures regarding e-tag sales, with SANRAL vehemently denying the claim.

OUTA consultant and spokesperson John Clarke has now accused SANRAL breaching seven of the entrenched human rights contained in Chapter Two of South Africa’s constitution.

“Since OUTA offered to mediate complaints to the Public Protector on behalf of the public, the nature of the complaints immediately suggested that the rights to Privacy, Access to Information, Dignity and Just Administrative Action were relevant,” he said.

“As the avalanche gained momentum and our learning curve steepened, the right to Freedom of Movement, Equality before the Law and even Freedom of Conscience began to crystallise.”

Clarke said OUTA has sent ten “statements of grievance” to the public protector in order to substantiate the alleged violations, using evidence from media sources and interviews with people visiting e-toll customer service centres.

“The grievances present a formidable challenge for SANRAL and the Transport authorities. Unless there is a radical turnaround this albatross will never fly,” Clarke said.

“Perhaps the most worrying aspect concerns the allegations of violations of the right to privacy on the one hand, and the failure of SANRAL and its agents to respect the constitutional right of access to truthful information on the other. Our right to privacy is not been upheld, while our right of access to information is being denied. That’s completely the wrong way around in the relationship that should prevail between citizens and the state.”

OUTA’s ten “statements of grievanve” are listed in full below:

1. Dishonesty in reporting on the sales of e-tags, by fabricating an illusionary and self-deceiving impression that the system is functioning according to plan, and for failing to take users into their confidence on the extent of the security breaches after the Sanral IT systems were hacked or notifying the user base as a whole that their personal data may have leaked.

2. Abuse of their authority and power by sending unjustified, inaccurate and offensive messages to people that have provoked needless fear and anxiety and undermined the legitimacy of the State in its function to uphold the Rule of Law.

3. Discrimination against “alternative users” of the freeways by failing to provide the promised level of service to enable them to take advantage of discounts, process their payments via internet banking, and provide them with documentation for normal accounting purposes.

4. Unfairly penalised alternative users with exorbitant and extortionist tariffs if they do not pay their e-toll bills promptly, while failing to provide users with accurate and timely tax invoices and proof of the usage charged.

5. Maladministration of the data bases and mismanagement of the IT systems by failing to ensure the necessary data integrity of primary sources and clean up the system, while expecting the users to take responsibility for initiating remedies to correct the errors and problems.

6. Obtaining personal information of people by violating their right to privacy.

7. Discourtesy to people seeking redress and explanation for errors and problems that have arisen from internal problems.

8. Failure to give complainants access to information necessary for the exercise and protection of their constitutional rights, and specifically their consumer rights.

9. Failure to provide reasonable and transparent justification for decisions taken by the authorities with respect to public money.

10. Failure to provide the advertised discounts for users who have bought e-tags and have signed Sanral terms and conditions.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Latest headlines

Latest by Category

Tweets about "humanipo"