OUTA applauds Thursday’s ruling in the Supreme Court of Appeal, which upheld the judgement by the Western Cape High Court in favour of the City of Cape Town to cancel SANRAL’s plans of introducing tolls to fund the upgrading of the Western Cape Winelands national routes.
Aside from a number of questionable actions by SANRAL on the Western Cape Winelands case, there were two fundamental transgressions of SANRAL’s role and duties to the public which we find extremely concerning: (a) their lack of a meaningful public participation process, which has a number of similarities to the Gauteng e-toll matter and (b) the failure by the SANRAL Board to make a decision to seek approval for the tolling of these roads.”
OUTA is encouraged that the court’s decision has effectively halted another grossly irrational tolling scheme by SANRAL, which once again had all the hallmarks of extremely high costs of administration and exorbitant road construction costs.
Duvenage says the judgment to halt the scheme has also prevented the public from being fleeced by a scheme that would have guaranteed enrichment of a concessionaire consortium.
Urban roads are important social infrastructure elements which provide society with access to movement. In the context of poor public transport provisions by the authorities, it becomes outrageous to privatize and toll these routes which the public use every day to commute to and from schools and places of work and worship.
OUTA continues to fight the Gauteng e-toll scheme in a defensive challenge against SANRAL’s decision to summons motorists for non-payment of e-tolls. “Despite the significant volumes of information we already have regarding the unlawfulness and unworkability of the Gauteng e-toll case, there are numerous aspects within the Western Cape case that will add further weight to our case and quest to end e-tolls in Gauteng,” says Duvenage.
OUTA will also be looking deeper into Mr Nazir Alli’s affidavit in the Western Cape case pertaining to a supposed SANRAL Board approval process on the toll decision, wherein the court’s have raised a rather damning finding against Mr Alli. “We believe he has a lot to answer to the people of South Africa with specific regard to this affidavit.”
“SANRAL’s actions in Gauteng and the Western Cape will simply have the effect of making the public poorer and a few concessionaires a lot richer. It’s time for a national discussion on the rationality of urban road tolling in the context of South African cities, which has become an expensive, questionable and unjustified tax on the people of this country.”