13 December 2012

South Africa: Court Bid to Scrap E-Tolls Fails

Photo: Jespahjoy/Flickr
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Pretoria — A court bid to scrap the Gauteng e-tolling project failed in the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday.

"In my view the application cannot succeed," Judge Louis Vorster ruled.

He was handing down judgment in an application by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) to have the controversial e-tolling project set aside.

Vorster said the crux of Outa's application, that there had not been an efficient public participation process, was flawed.

The organisation had accused the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) of deliberately keeping the public in the dark and being dishonest about the process of implementing tolls in Gauteng.

During the application in November, David Unterhalter SC, for Sanral, said this claim was reckless and that Outa had to look at all the facts of the case and affidavits submitted by Sanral, the transport department, and Treasury.

Outa lawyer Mike Maritz argued e-tolling should be set aside because proper public consultation never took place.

During the three days in court, Sanral, the transport department and Treasury argued the application should be dismissed.

Unterhalter contended Outa changed its submissions in September after the Constitutional Court overturned an interim order putting the Gauteng e-tolling project on hold.

The Constitutional Court found the High Court in Pretoria had not considered the separation of powers between the high court and the executive.

On April 28, the high court granted the interdict to Outa, ruling that a full review needed to be carried out before e-tolling could be implemented. The interdict prevented Sanral from levying or collecting tolls pending the review's outcome.

Outa chairman Wayne Duvenhage and his team sat in the first row of the public gallery on Thursday, as judgment was handed down.

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