27 November 2012

South Africa: Sanral Notice Not Misleading

Pretoria — The allegation that the initial notice of the intention to toll roads in Gauteng was "sterile" and "misleading" is inconsistent, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday.

David Unterhalter, for the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral), was responding to submissions made by Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) lawyer Mike Maritz on Monday.

"Sanral engaged in forum after forum after forum," Unterhalter said.

"That allegation is inconsistent... It's highly irresponsible and flatly wrong."

On Monday, Maritz argued that the public was not aware what Sanral's Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) would entail.

"There was virtually nothing to be contained in the sterile notice. It was positively misleading and it conveyed to the public that it was only existing roads that were going to be tolled," he said.

Maritz said this was why there was such a limited response to the notice, with only 30 respondents.

According to section 27 of the Sanral Act, public consultation and input on the project was "critical", Maritz told the court.

However, Unterhalter said Sanral had done what was required by law and that there had been public consultation.

He told the court that it had also been reported in the media that there would be an upgrade of the roads in Gauteng.

He said the name Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project clearly stated that the roads would be improved.

"Sanral was not going to simply toll existing roads. Roads were going to be improved," he said.

Unterhalter said the interpretation of the Sanral Act also played a role.

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