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OUTA congratulates Zwelinzima Vavi on court win

OUTA is pleased with the ruling by Judge Mojapelo today that Cosatu Secretary General Zwelinzima Vavi’s suspension was illegal.  “From the start of OUTA’s tumultuous history, Zwelinzima has been a source of constant reassurance and support to us, notwithstanding our contrasting ideological backgrounds,” said Wayne Duvenage.  “He exemplified the ‘civil courage’ that OUTA is calling for and although Cosatu was not a co-applicant in our court challenge, his energy and calls for action to end the ill-conceived e-toll plan helped us enormously. 

A month after Mr Vavi’s illegal suspension in August last year, it was OUTA’s turn to experience setback when the Supreme Court of Appeal refused to condone OUTA’s late application to have e-tolling declared unlawful.  Cast by circumstances into unlikely co-belligerents, he encouraged OUTA not to give up, despite losing our appeal.  He helped us to re-strategize and mature within the larger civil society space, which has added still further credibility to OUTA.  Given that e-tolling is now obviously in terminal decline, South Africa is in desperate need of principle & people centered leadership from people like Zwelinzima”.

OUTA wishes to also remind the public that Judge Mojapelo happened to also be the sitting judge when a motorist was charged for refusing to pay toll fees for using the N4 road in 1997.  Judge Mojapelo found the accused not guilty because he successfully argued that the road in question was not a toll road as defined in the relevant statue, because of Sanral’s failure to engage in a meaningful public consultation process before it was declared a toll road, and that he was not therefore liable for the toll fee.  The judgment was handed down in 2006 and will be a key legal precedent to support the defense of the first e-toll objector who is prosecuted by Sanral for refusing to pay e-toll.  John Clarke OUTA consultant says “Sanral learned nothing from that judgment and when the GFIP roads were declared toll roads in 2008, Sanral again neglected to ensure that “communication must in fact be effective and genuine for consultation to take place” and that “consultation must allow reasonable opportunity to both sides … to communicate effectively and achieve the purpose for which prior consolation is prescribed” as Judge Majapelo.   “We urge anyone contemplating conscientious refusal to pay their e-toll bills to study that judgment carefully to satisfy themselves whether or not that judgment speaks to their situation as well,” advises Clarke.

A summary of Judge Mojapelo’s 2006 judgement is available on OUTA’s website.

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