Roadblocks set up by Gauteng Department of Community Safety officers contracted to SANRAL and using SANRAL-branded e-tolls trucks in multiple locations around the GFIP today have caused a flood of enquiries to come into JPSA.
At first we assumed that these roadblocks were merely being used to check for false, cloned, altered, obscured and missing number plates as would be consistent with proper physical visible policing, however it has now come to our attention that people with no defects to their vehicles have been stopped at the roadblock set up at Atlas Road and asked:
- Why they don’t have an e-tag;
- Why they are driving on the e-toll roads without having an e-tag; and
- Recording their name and ID number.
There is NO REQUIREMENT for any person to have an e-tag in any law and even SANRAL’s spokesperson, Vusi Mona and others have confirmed this.
JPSA has been in touch with a senior officer from the Gauteng Department of Community Safety, Gauteng Traffic Police seconded to SANRAL to ascertain the truth about what is going on at these roadblocks and has been assured that all of the exercises in the Northern parts of Johannesburg and Pretoria are purely looking for defective number plates, licence discs and other vehicle/driver defects. We have lodged a complaint with respect to what allegedly happened at Atlas Road and will be forwarding motorists’ complaints to GDoCS for action. That roadblock packed up and left at around 13:15.
Unfortunately, the presence of SANRAL’s heavily branded orange e-tolls trucks at all of these exercises has created what can only be described as a “mass panic” amongst motorists, many of whom have assumed that they are there to enforce outstanding e-tolls. SANRAL has repeatedly engaged in propaganda and intimidation exercises in order to try to force motorists to get e-tags and register with them and it would be naïve at best to think that they would not take full advantage of the psychological effect it can have on motorists by having these trucks accompany legitimate law enforcement exercises.
The facts of the matter are however very different to what people would assume they are and staging while such exercises may indeed have the effect of making some people rush off to get tagged so as not to be caught up in these exercises at this stage, there is no cause for panic. Getting an e-tag is a personal choice that may be exercised by any motorist, but it is NOT a legal requirement in order to drive on the Gauteng e-toll highways, not “freeways” as SANRAL calls them.
JPSA has no problem whatsoever with traffic police enforcing general traffic laws and checking vehicle and driver fitness, however if people are to be intimidated by asking them about requirements that don’t exist, then we do have a problem and will take the appropriate action, just as we have done today.
National Chairman – Justice Project South Africa (NPC)