On the 27th March, the Department of Transport (DOT) gazetted the SANRAL and National Roads Act regulations for 2012. The new draft regulations seek to introduce amendments to the current regulations in order to facilitate enforcement of the pending e-tolling in Gauteng, set to be implemented on the 30th April. It says “authorised employees” will be empowered to request e-tags and driving licenses from motorists. The “authorised employees” can also, while in a uniform approved by SANRAL’s CEO, require drivers to stop their vehicles and question the driver of a vehicle about whether their tolls have been paid. Interested persons were invited to send written comments within 20 days.
The Automobile Association (AA), known for their strong anti-tolling stance as the voice of the motorist, has submitted their commentary today. The AA, has again made it known to both SANRAL and government that they believe tolling of the GFIP should not go ahead. “We stand by our position that funding through the fuel levy is still the cheapest option for the road user and will impact the general consumer less in terms of increased living expenses than tolling will,” said the AA.
“The AA remains publically opposed to the e-tolling. In placing the AA’s comments to the draft regulations on record, we are objecting on a number of issues,” continued the AA. “Firstly, we object to the short time made available for public comment, especially during a holiday period. The normally acceptable notice period for public comment on South African legislation is 30 days whereas comment on these proposed regulations has been limited to just 20 days – including the Easter public holidays and school break.”
In view of the above, the AA is concerned about the limited public participation and consequent comment to these regulations considering the time restraints. This disregard of process and on-going bullying attitude to force compliance is a hallmark of the limited consultative process government has followed from the outset with respect to the GFIP, and more specifically, the urban tolling issue. The AA strongly suggests that the period for comment be reviewed and extended to the normal 30 days and that broader communication be made to the public.
In their commentary the AA also questions the need for a dedicated traffic police force committed to SANRAL. “Constituting a new traffic police force just for the benefit of SANRAL could be construed as the establishment of a private army for the sole purpose of toll enforcement,” concluded the AA. “It is also our view that the proposed regulations to the SANRAL Act will serve no other purpose than to fragment traffic legislation. These regulations should sit within the National Road Traffic Act 93 of 1996.”
To view the proposed regulations and the AA’s complete submission to SANRAL, click here.
Automobile Association of South Africa (AA)
011 799 1126