South Africa’s Department of Transport (DoT) has noted errors in the Government Gazette notice on e-tolling charges highlighted by the Justice Project South Africa (JPSA), saying it is correcting them and that they do not affect e-tolling’s validity.
HumanIPO reported yesterday the JPSA said Gauteng motorists may be able to claim e-toll refunds due to the English and Afrikaans versions of the e-toll tariff notices published in the Government Gazette containing different figures.
“SANRAL (South African National Roads Agency Limited) and the Department of Transport have been entirely uncooperative with our requests for clarity on the enforcement process, instead referring us to the regulations,” said JPSA national chairperson Howard Dembovsky.
The DoT issued a statement last night responding to the findings, saying it had “noted reports on confusion surrounding the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project toll tariffs Gazette”, and that a “revised version will soon be published”.
The department said the “mistake” did not invalidate the e-tolling legislation, however, saying: “The noted mistake in question won’t affect the validity of the legislation. The headings of the different columns are clear: column six is clearly marked as the one containing the tariffs applicable to ‘alternate users’, while column five clearly contains those applicable to another category, namely ‘registered VLN users’.
“Reading the clause and the column together, it is clear that the tariffs in column six apply to ‘alternate users’ and that the reference to column five in the Afrikaans version is a mistake.”
JPSA attorneys had written to minister of transport Dipuo Peters calling upon her to immediately repeal the offending Tariff Gazette and to instruct the SANRAL to stop the levying and collection of e-tolls until the matter is corrected.
The controversial Gauteng e-tolling project went live at the beginning of the month, with the JPSA just one of a list of opposition groups which also includes 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 AfriForumhave vowed to continue the fight against the controversial policy.
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