OUTA and SANRAL agree on e-tolls test case
The overall legality of the e-tolls system will be argued in a single big test case.
The legal teams for the supporters of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) and the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) have now agreed to consolidate four big claims as the test case in the e-tolls legal dispute. This consolidation will be made an order of court.
This case will be used for the main dispute of the overall “legality challenges” to the e-tolls system itself, separate from the specifics of each individual case.
This agreement was made during a case management discussion between the respective legal teams and a judge of the Pretoria High Court.
While it’s still too early for a court date, once the cases are consolidated and key issues identified, the process of discovery (requests for documents and evidence) will start, which may take the court hearings process well into 2019.
The legal team for the supporters of OUTA also wants to use evidence from six cases in the magistrate’s courts as part of this test case. There is now ongoing discussion between the legal teams over identifying and agreeing on facts and evidence from these six cases which may be used in the high court test case.
An agreement has also been reached that the Minister of Transport, the Minister of Finance, the SARS Commissioner and possibly the Minister of Environmental Affairs should be joined to the test case, as they have an interest in the matter. An application to do this is in the process of being drafted and will be launched in the Pretoria High Court in due course.
The legal team for the supporters of OUTA wanted SANRAL to suspend enforcement of all other e-toll legal claims against motorists – for both OUTA supporters and other cases – but SANRAL’s team would not agree to this. SANRAL’s lawyers said a general stay could not be agreed whilst road users were being encouraged not to pay e-tolls and, to prevent claims prescribing, SANRAL would continue to issue a significant number of summonses and proceed with claims.
OUTA will continue to assist its supporters who are summonsed for the non-payment of e-tolls until the e-toll matter is resolved.