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Outa to Sanral: Fight e-tolls ‘properly’

If you don’t, we are going to bar you, and that’s what’s happened – Wayne Duvenage, Outa chairperson.

[Apologies for the erratic telephone connection.]

SIKI MGABADELI:  We move now to e-tolls. Last week the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse, Outa, barred the SA National Roads Agency, Sanral, from pleading 55 cases against its members in court on the grounds that it had not followed court procedures and had delayed presenting its cases in court. These 55 cases represent nearly R2 milion in outstanding e-tolls.

Today we’ll find what this means. Let’s chat to Wayne Duvenage, who is chairperson of Outa. Wayne, thanks so much for your time today. These 55 cases were related to non-payment of e-tolls?

WAYNE DUVENAGE:  Yes, they were. As you know or might not know, Sanral some time ago started issuing summonses to defaulters, and about 152 of our members were caught up in that process. We said to them, do they want to go and fight every single case? If they do, we are ready for that fight. Or should be sit down for a test-case process? They agreed to a test-case process. I think the deputy justice wouldn’t want that anyway … with the multiple e-toll matters.

Read: The e-tolls mess just got messier

Nonetheless, that process case is far too long and we pulled out of that process about a month ago, and let the normal court take its course. We are following our notice of intent to defend those cases. We asked them for their declarations, and they failed to provide them. So we have barred those cases.

SIKI MGABADELI:  Have they given any reasons at all for the delays?

WAYNE DUVENAGE:  No, they just are slow in their process. What we are basically saying to Sanral is if you want to fight matters like this, do so properly. Follow the rules of the courts and do it properly. If you don’t, we are going to bar them, and that’s what’s happened. In fact, we got another mail today saying that they have submitted late again another handful of cases, and they have an extension. We said, how can you bring the fight to the people and then ask for more time? You’ve got to do it properly, otherwise we’ll stop this nonsense. In fact, we’ve said up front it is absolutely ludicrous that the state goes to war with it citizens … by the way without sending e-toll bills…and this is not how you run a company.

SIKI MGABADELI:  In the meantime, while the process delays itself, are they continuing to issue summonses?

WAYNE DUVENAGE:  Well, yes. We don’t know if there is another batch still on out from the first 6 000. It’s a very laborious process. Look, not all of those people are linked to Outa. There is just the man in the street out there and some of them haven’t even followed due process –  I’m talking citizens – in which case they’ve ignored summonses and Sanral are getting these default judgments.

They’ve put them out there as though they’ve got this big precedent-setting win, when it isn’t precedent-setting. We’ve made that very clear to the public. Nonetheless, I think it’s getting very messy.

SIKI MGABADELI:  What’s the next step now?

WAYNE DUVENAGE:  Well, we go to court. We’ve got our first case laid down. We plead our pleadings to them and what that means…so we’ve set down what the call the Rule 16A, where you give a notice to the public, whoever is interested in this case, to participate as well. Probably the unions, other political parties, and we’ll be going to the High Court, in which case we also now want the deputy justice to stay all cases. Actually for Sanral it doesn’t make sense to go on thousands of cases against the public … a very serious matter with constitutional issues at stake here, and that they should all be put on hold until we go through this motion.

SIKI MGABADELI:  Alright, we’ll leave it there. Thanks to Wayne Duvenage, chairperson of Outa.

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