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Pan Macmillan

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Sanral is flogging a dead horse, says Outa’s Wayne Duvenage

The E-Tolls SagaThe Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) says Sanral’s announcement that civil summonses will be issued to e-toll defaulters is merely a scare tactic for motorists and a show of force for the benefit of ratings agencies.

Outa says the public “need not panic or become anxious about this latest development‚ as this is precisely what Sanral seeks to achieve”.

Sanral said on Monday that the orders will be handed to individuals and “higher value summonses of mostly companies”.

Owing to the amount owed in the latter cases‚ said the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project’s Alex van Niekerk‚ “the summons has to be managed by the high court”.

Outa‚ however‚ pointed out on Wednesday that a “high court civil claim … entertains debt in excess of R400 000”.

“Civil claims of this nature‚ if properly defended‚ will take many months‚ if not years to bring to fruition‚” Outa said.

“What Sanral would like to have the public believe is that everyone will shortly be receiving a summons to appear in court‚ but this is not the case and is virtually impossible for them or the courts to do.”

Outa’s Wayne Duvenage also took issue with Van Niekerk’s contention that there was “an obligation to act” as “global ratings agencies and the investment community are also looking towards Sanral and expect from us to demonstrate our commitment to financial responsibility and high standards of corporate governance”.

Duvenage said Sanral has “a need to demonstrate to the ratings agencies that they can and will take action‚ following two years of threatening to do so”.

“Eventually‚ there comes a day when they would either have to drop the cause or decide to carry through with their threats‚” Duvenage said.

“Sanral and the government have unwisely demonstrated their decision to press on with their failed scheme‚ which is akin to flogging a dead horse.”

Outa’s statement also claimed that “well-connected debt collection companies stand to make large undisclosed amounts from all historic e-toll fees collected” is another “motivating factor for the renewed drive to create the heightened anxiety levels that will steer some of the public toward settling the e-toll debt”.

It said unpaid e-toll debt incurred before September 2015 totals more than R14-billion.

Source: TMG Digital

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