OUTA is pleased at being granted leave to appeal the High Court judgement of 13 December 2012, and expresses the alliance’s sincere belief that their case to halt eTolls has strong grounds, which we trust will eventually obtain the ruling that SANRAL’s current eToll plans are illegal.
There is no doubting the fact that society has overwhelmingly rejected this plan as too expensive, inefficient, unworkable and a most irrational waste of their money. OUTA has never denounced the benefit and need for the freeway upgrade, and neither has it argued that society does not need to pay for the upgrade. We have simply indicated that projects of this nature require the correct and meaningful public participation process to be undertaken and with the best interests of society being considered at all times and that this project is extremely costly and onerous on society.
We are mindful of the fact that SANRAL can proceed with eTolling in the meantime, until the appeal is heard later in the year at the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), but they will have to do so knowing full well that the SCA could rule the scheme as illegal, in which case it may have to be halted.
We also note that it was in August 2012 that SANRAL argued in the Constitutional Court their readiness to launch within two weeks of the interdict being set aside. We are now four months beyond that ruling and eTolling is still unable to launch. Their systems continue to undergoing testing and a number of regulatory matters are still outstanding. In fact, it is now almost two years beyond their first planned launch date of April 2011, and they are unable to launch. We believe this is a significant signal of the administratively burdensome nature and unworkability of this project.
OUTA calls for a public release of the recommendations for eTolling to commence, provided to cabinet by the Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC) last year. In addition, OUTA also looks forward to the release of feedback from the Department of Transport on the views expressed by the public during their public engagement sessions, along with the summary of the thousands of public submissions on tariffs and exemptions conducted during November.
OUTA wishes to thank the thousands of citizens and hundreds of businesses that have contributed to funding this campaign and we urge all citizens and businesses to continue to assist with donations toward the legal costs of the case. Thus far, we have successfully raised over R8 million and are over two thirds of the way to our target of R11.8 million. Donations can be made at www.outa.co.za