Court puts e-tolling on hold
The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral), National Treasury and the Department of Transport (DOT) had failed to convince the court that OUTA should have lodged the case earlier.
In his ruling Judge Bill Prinsloo said Outa had made a proper case for urgency.
“The widespread public interest, and the protesting, should persuade me to hear the matter,” he said.
He added that, due to inconsistency on start-up dates, unclear tariffs and a huge public outcry against the scheme, it was in the public interest to rule before the planned implementation date whether tolling should go ahead or not.
The application for an interdict was brought by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance; The South African Vehicle Renting and Leasing Association; The Quadpara Association of South Africa and the South African National Consumer Union against the South African National Roads Agency Ltd (SANRAL); the minister of Transport; the MEC of Roads and Transport in Gauteng; the minister of Water and Environmental Affairs; the DG of the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs and the National Consumer Commission.
In February government announced a plan to cut the R20 billion e-tolling debt through a special appropriation of R5.8 billion to the project, allowing for discounted rates for regular road users.
Despite price reductions, the e-tolling initiative has continuously come under fire from business, trade unions and motorists. Trade federation, Cosatu, has planned as series of protests against the introduction of e-tolling and has planned marches, pickets, rallies, sit-ins and freeway blockades planned across several provinces over the next week.
Government however, has refused to postpone or stop the initiative, stating the project would go ahead and urging motorists to purchase e-tags before 30 April. – SAPA