Justice Project South Africa has noted that SANRAL has again deployed its Chief Financial Officer; Ms Helga Mulder to threaten motorists with prosecution for the non-payment of e-tolls, despite the fact that e-tolling is currently under review by the Gauteng Provincial Government.
An article which appeared on Moneyweb on Monday 27 October 2014 bears testimony to the mechanics SANRAL intends using in furthering these criminal prosecutions, which it has waited for more than 7 months after the first prosecutions should have begun in April 2014. SANRAL has thereby created an enormous amount of prejudice, both in the monies allegedly outstanding to it and the quantum of individuals that will have to be prosecuted for non-payment of e-tolls.
On 1 September 2014, JPSA presented its submission to the Gauteng e-tolls review panel, warning of the socioeconomic disaster for South Africa as a whole that will ensue out of successful criminal prosecutions for non-payment of e-tolls but it would appear that SANRAL doesn’t much care what happens to the economy of South Africa if they are successful in creating a high volume of artificial criminals. It is still somewhat debatable whether SANRAL will be successful in prosecuting cases of the non-payment of e-tolls, but only a court will prove whether they will or will not.
The two cases currently undergoing prosecution must not be confused with prosecutions for non-payment of e-tolls, despite the fact that SANRAL has chosen to conflate these two cases with fraud charges applicable to e-tolling. Falsifying and defacing number plates are criminal offences under the National Road Traffic Act. Falsified number plates would ordinarily be prosecuted under the criminal charge of fraud, with charges under the National Road Traffic Act forming alternative charges.
The case of the former Deputy Chief of the Tshwane Metropolitan Police Department, Ndumiso Jaca, who fitted the same false number plates to a BMW Z4 and a Harley Davidson motorcycle which was instituted in 2011 is still ongoing. This matter is being heard in the Pretoria Regional Magistrates Court; the same court that the matter against Dr Stoyan Hristov Stoychev is being heard.
When it comes to the prosecution of motorists for the non-payment of e-tolls, the matter is not nearly as clear-cut as someone falsifying or defacing number plates and prosecuting the two clearly criminal matters cited by SANRAL is a far cry from prosecuting hundreds of thousands, if not over a million individuals for non-payment of e-tolls.
If SANRAL is planning to violate the Constitution by selecting a few “choice matters” to prosecute in the hope that they can scare others into submission, they need to be aware of the fact that this will not simply be overlooked. If they are successful in prosecuting large volumes of e-tolls “offenders”, they will create an environment of unemployable artificial criminals and will, as a result, cripple the economy of South Africa.
JPSA takes a very dim view of the repeated threats of prosecution by SANRAL, despite the fact that a supposedly democratic process is currently underway. In our view, this acutely demonstrates the fact that neither SANRAL nor the Department of Transport are in any way interested in listening to what citizens, political parties and other organisations think and have absolutely no intention of deviating from their plans to persist with e-tolls, regardless of whether they are efficient in getting the job done or not.
National Chairman – Justice Project South Africa (NPC)