E-tolls: Sanral backtracking?
The SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) this morning said it would issue revised terms and conditions for e-tolling.
This comes a few hours before the agency is to appear at the National Consumer Commission (NCC), after failing to attend two previous hearing dates.
In January, several parties, including the SA National Consumer Union, said the terms and conditions linked to the e-toll contract, when users register for e-tags, are unlawful and violate the Financial Services Act and the Consumer Protection Act, which protects consumers from unfair, unreasonable and unjust practices.
In February, NCC commissioner Mamodupi Mohlala told ITWeb that the terms and conditions in the contract are “contrary to the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act”.
Despite previously defending the terms and conditions of the e-toll contract, Sanral now says it has taken public concern into consideration. It previously attempted to address all allegations of the conditions being unlawful.
Sanral says the revised terms and conditions for road users who register for Gauteng e-tolling take into consideration the concerns and recommendations made by the public on the matter.
“We believe that these new terms and conditions will allay fears consumers may have. Importantly, the new terms and conditions will apply to everybody who has registered already or who registers in future. No registered user will be prejudiced or disadvantaged.”
[EMBEDDED]However, Democratic Alliance Gauteng transport spokesperson Neil Campbell says this does not make sense. “How can it apply to those users that are already registered? They've signed on the old terms and conditions. Sanral can't assume that people will just accept the new ones. They've got to go back and do it all again.”
The agency says the decision to revise the conditions for the controversial system demonstrates that it takes the concerns and input of the public seriously.
“We also continue to co-operate and engage with the National Consumer Commission on this matter. We intend to issue the new terms and conditions at the conclusion of the engagement with the National Consumer Commission, but in any event before-tolling commences.”
Campbell says it is the hearing at the NCC that must have spurred the revision of terms. “Today's got them worried. They know it's indefensible. At least they're admitting it now. I'm thrilled they're starting to see the light, instead of continuing in their usual arrogant way.”
Sanral also reiterated that banking details of users will only be required if the user chooses a payment option which requires the user to provide their banking details. The prepaid option can be settled by electronic funds transfer and/or cash payments at an e-toll customer service centre.
“We, therefore, encourage users to continue to register with Sanral for e-tolling.”