Letter of demand is not a summons

People will stand up to SANRAL's legal threats.

07/04/2016 11:38:51

Letter of demand is not a summons

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) has been informed that SANRAL has now begun to serve supporters of the public with letters of demand for outstanding debt. We would like to highlight that a 'Letter of  Demand' should not be confused with a summons, as it is a low commitment step that does not officially initiate legal proceedings. However, it is a process that the public can and should use in their favour, to further challenge the irrational e-toll scheme.

As a service to the public, we have provided a guideline on our website here, which the public can use when compiling their response to SANRAL's letter of demand for outstanding e-toll debt, should they wish to do so. Those who receive a letter of demand or summons from the Electronic Toll Collection (ETC), may do well to take advantage of the guidelines provided by us.

SANRAL’s past behaviour and processes have laid the ground for a very strong defence in the form of a collateral challenge against SANRAL, if and when a summons arises for non-payment of e-tolls. The grounds of this is reflected in our "Rule of Law" campaign, and it is important to note that we are not alone in our stance to defend our supporters.

While there are a number of pertinent common matters that each case can bring in their defence, as reflected in our "Rule of Law" campaign, each case will also have it's own merits that can be argued in defence of the stance taken by the public or business who have chosen not to pay, or who have stopped paying.

"For instance, we have examples of motorists who have previously been compliant and eventually gave up due to the scheme's failure to account for and manage their queries and billing errors raised on their invoices," says Wayne Duvenage, OUTA's  Chairman. "Others have never received invoices in accordance with the scheme's rules, whilst in other cases, incorrect bills were not removed from their accounts due to a cumbersome and ineffective dispute resolution mechanism."

For motorists that have entered into an agreement with SANRAL to pay e-tolls under duress, and who remain “indebted” to SANRAL, the case could very well revolve around the validity of the agreement. We are aware of many motorists who signed up for the scheme out of fear of being prosecuted, not knowing that significant and valid questions surround the lawfulness of the scheme's introduction, or that SANRAL had not ensured their equipment was certified in accordance with the Legal Metrology Act, or that the Department of Transport would change their minds and not pursue their incessant threats of criminal charges against e-toll defaulters, seven months after the scheme was launched.

The public discontent with the e-toll scheme and SANRAL's threatening approach toward their justified defiance, becomes more widespread every day.  It is unfortunate that despite the continued low compliance levels, Government persists in trying to force their failed scheme onto an unwilling public, whose resistance has remained strong throughout the debacle. The showdown between the State and the people on the e-toll matter will continue to intensify until SANRAL and their bosses eventually realise the public will not bow down to their pressure.

OUTA is a proudly South African civil action organisation, that is purely crowd funded. Our work is supported by ordinary citizens who are passionate about holding government accountable and ensuring our taxes are used to the benefit of all South Africans.