Be alert to hoax emails on Sanral eToll issues -do not believe everything you read!

JOHANNESBURG – JPSA has noted that SANRAL has today re-released its “news release” of several months ago in much of its original form; wherein it was stated that the independent investigation commissioned with Deloitte by them has revealed that claims of SANRAL roadblocks were a “hoax”.

We do not wish to discuss the merits of the “independent investigation” commissioned by SANRAL; merely to state that the recent emails doing the rounds are indeed largely hoaxes spread by mischief-makers.

Perhaps SANRAL deemed it necessary to re-release this release due to the fact that, all of a sudden hoax emails making outrageous claims about the controversial eTolling project have again been flooding email inboxes and again, social networks are abuzz with tweets thereon.

JPSA would like to point out that many of these emails are almost direct copies of those that were doing the rounds from February 2012 onwards and we encourage members of the public to check their facts and the sources of those emails before forwarding them instead of “giving legs” to senseless chain letters.  In many cases, the alleged authors thereof are either not who they are said to be, or are entirely fictitious.

What is not fictitious however is that the public has up to and including 23 November to comment on the latest government gazettes dealing with tariffs and exemptions.  These gazettes are available at www.outa.co.za should members of the public wish to comment.

In the public meetings held by SANRAL last week, SANRAL stated in its presentation that the closing date for submissions of comments is “26 November”, three days after the actual closing date – and this is simply not true.

On 26 November 2012, the Judicial Review of eTolls instituted by OUTA is laid down to be heard in the North Gauteng High Court.  Perhaps it is this that SANRAL got confused with the closing date for submissions but only they will know why they misled people in a public forum.

Another relevant and undeniable truth is that COSATU has announced that on Friday 30 November 2012, the eToll roads will be brought to a standstill by public mass action demonstrating against eTolls.  Others, like the DA have vowed to make the so-called “alternative routes” impassable at the same time.  JPSA fully supports these actions.

Last week’s so-called “public consultations” clearly revealed that the public who attended them don’t want eTolls to be imposed on them, and instead of being limited purely to the contents of the gazettes published by SANRAL and the Department of Transport these meetings turned into verbal protest of the entire eTolling system, not a discussion of those documents as SANRAL had clearly hoped they would be.

Interestingly, none of the public sessions were held in townships, but were held only in upmarket suburbs where it was less likely that less financially-privileged citizens would attend.  Fortunately, some spokespersons for the poor did attend and voiced the opinions on behalf of the poor who may have been tempted to hurl rocks and petrol bombs instead of sticking to words alone.

Only time will tell whether eTolls will indeed be forced down the throats of citizens and whether they will be prepared to swallow them.

Best Regards,

Howard Dembovsky

National Chairman – Justice Project South Africa (NPC)

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