Only 26 motorists have received default judgments for not paying their e-toll bills, Netwerk24 reported on Thursday.
Vusi Mona, South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) spokesperson, told the online news service that motorists now owe Sanral more than R10.9 billion in unpaid e-toll money.
But Sanral has only secured 26 default judgments – and have not yet given instruction for the enforcement of these judgments, which means that no money has been paid back.
A default judgment is issued against someone who has failed to defend a legal action. This means that the motorists have been summoned to appear before the court due to unpaid toll bills, but have not responded in any way or appeared in the court.
In a statement, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) said some of its members have received default judgments.
OUTA warned that these judgments may affect motorists’ credit ratings, which will make it more difficult to obtain credit in future.
“In our opinion, SANRAL is waging a dangerous war against the citizens of South Africa,” says OUTA’s Rudie Heyneke. “We have seen instances where these default judgments were obtained for debt that had already prescribed.
“Furthermore, what happens if default judgments were obtained against motorists for vehicles that were not theirs, as others had cloned their registration plates?”
“It is also important to note that the State is under no obligation to inform motorists once a default judgment has been made. They may only find out the next time they apply for credit, such as when attempting to take out a home loan. This can have a disastrous financial impact on households.”
OUTA says motorists shouldn’t ignore summonses, and should check their credit records to see if Sanral took action against them.
The e-tolls issue was left out of both the party’s January manifesto launch and in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address last month.
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