13 December 2012

South Africa: Govt Welcomes Court Ruling On Gauteng E-Toll

Pretoria — Government has welcomed the ruling handed down by the North Gauteng High Court on the implementation of the Gauteng e-tolling system.

This comes after Judge Louis Vorster on Thursday dismissed an application by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) to have the e-tolling system set aside as they claimed there had not been efficient public participation process by the SA National Road Agency Limited (Sanral). The North Gauteng High Court also ordered Outa to pay all legal costs.

In a statement, Spokesperson for the Deputy President, Thabo Masebe, said the judgment vindicates government's view that it had followed the due process and met all regulatory requirements in declaring portions of the Gauteng freeways as toll roads in 2007.

"Government calls on all parties to respect the decision of the court and together move forward in the implementation of the e-tolling system.

"The development of a country's roads infrastructure plays a critical role in establishing a thriving economy and sustaining growth through the efficient movement of goods and services," he said.

Meanwhile - Sanral also welcomed the ruling on Thursday, saying the judgment was in line with the Constitutional Court's ruling in September which effectively paved the way for e-tolling to commence.

Sanral says it has long held the view that proper steps were taken by the agency in the implementation of e-tolling and is gratified by the decision of the High Court.

"The ruling finally clears all questions surrounding the legality of e-tolling," Sanral said in a statement.

The Minister of Transport will make an announcement on the way forward soon, it said.

The Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) is being delivered within a broader context of improvements to integrated public transport and improvements to non-toll alternative routes.

Borrowing internationally and upfront and applying the user-pays principle allows Gauteng, South Africa's economic heartland, and the broader economy to enjoy the benefits today, when the country needs the growth and development.

Sanral remains strongly convinced that the user pay principle is the best funding mechanism to finance infrastructure development where it is required.

"The development of a country's road infrastructure plays a critical role in building its economy and sustaining its growth by facilitating the movement of goods and people across the country.

"We look forward to being able to demonstrate to motorists the benefits that e-roads will contribute to their trips and lives through the on-road services such as emergency, towing and rapid response vehicles and on-the-minute travel condition updates that will allow better travel decisions and ultimately save time," Sanral said.

Sanral and government have urged vehicle owners to register and obtain their e-tags as soon as possible to ensure that they qualify for the full discounts available.

Road users can register by visiting an e-toll outlet or any one of the e-toll Customer Service Centres located along the Gauteng e-road network.

Users can also conveniently register via Sanral's website (www.sanral.co.za) or by calling the toll free number 0800 SANRAL (726725).

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