'E-tolling defies CPA'
It has been confirmed that the contract for e-tags within the Gauteng e-tolling system violates consumer rights.
Commissioner of the National Consumer Commission Mamodupi Mohlala told ITWeb that the terms and conditions in the contract are “contrary to the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA)”.
In light of this, the Democratic Alliance's (DA's) campaign against the controversial e-tolling system, TollFreeGP, says the e-tag conditions are unfair and illegal, and so citizens should “keep piling on pressure against arrogant Sanral [SA National Roads Agency]”.
“With its usual arrogance, Sanral drafted a one-sided contract which gave them powers far beyond what is necessary, fair or allowed and, despite the commissioner's pronouncements against the validity of the contract, they continue to try and circumvent the consumer's right to be protected,” says DA Gauteng transport spokesperson Neil Campbell.
“The infringement of the public's right to privacy is blatantly ignored in the Sanral contract and yet even when the error of their ways is pointed out to them, they try to justify the unjustifiable by stating that, although the contract gives them the right to ask for unnecessary information, they will not do so. What utter nonsense.
“Sanral has ridden roughshod over consumers' rights since the inception of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Plan and yet they still expect the public to support them.”
The DA has reiterated its call to Gauteng drivers not to purchase e-tags as the conditions weaken their legal rights.
The SA National Consumer Union (Sancu) and the DA previously said certain clauses in the e-toll registration contract go against consumer rights and may violate the Financial Services Act as well.
However, Sanral “denies that its terms and conditions are either unfair or illegal”. The agency, in a statement, attempts to address the primary allegations against the e-tag conditions.
The clause that Sancu said infringes on the CPA is the one saying Sanral's information is correct unless drivers can prove otherwise. The problem arises with fraudulent plates where drivers are charged e-toll fees that they did not incur.
“Sanral denies that this provision is contrary to the requirements of the Consumer Protection Act or any law,” says the agency. It addresses several other allegations and the full statement can be read here.