E-tolling opponents OUTA have hailed the City of Cape Town’s e-tolling court victory over
SANRAL, marking another blow against SANRAL’s plans to ram their unpopular plans down
society’s throat. OUTA Chairman, Wayne Duvenage, said the case had demonstrated
SANRAL’s lack of legal compliance and highlighted contradictions in its policy.
“In the Gauteng e-tolling case, SANRAL claimed that the cost of tolling was known before the
decision to embark on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project was taken. Yet in the Cape,
SANRAL’s counsel claimed the opposite, saying that tolling costs couldn’t be determined until
the decision to build the roads was taken,” he explained. “Contradictions aside, we are amazed
that SANRAL was prepared to build the N1/N2 Winelands project without knowing what it
would cost the road user.”
OUTA said the judgment also emphasised SANRAL’s tendency to withhold relevant
information. “This tactic and lack of transparency by SANRAL has often been observed by
OUTA during our protracted legal case over the Gauteng e-tolling system,” Duvenage
commented. He also hoped the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) would take note of the
judgment. The NCOP is currently considering legislation which would make a vehicle’s owner
liable for toll payments, as opposed to its driver, something that OUTA described as
contradictory to SANRAL’s submissions in its Gauteng court case. “SANRAL has constantly
promoted e-tolling as a ‘user pays’ system,” said Duvenage. “From the look of this legislation, it
actually an ‘owner pays’ process which adds significant technical difficulties around application
and enforcement. We call on the NCOP to put a halt to this legislation until greater clarity is
obtained, all options are explored and the legal processes are complete.”
He added that vast amounts of information about e-tolling were still outstanding in that the
Minister of Transport had not yet responded to the more than 11,000 or so public comments on
e-tolling along with feedback on the public forums held during November 2012, at which etolling
was resoundingly rejected. He said the government had also gone silent on legislation to
create the so-called ‘e-toll police’, and information was lacking on the procedures and legal
implications of e-tolling, for instance, the roles of the Criminal Procedure Act and AARTO.
“The City of Cape Town’s court victory is heartening, but the fight isn’t over yet. The case
clearly showed that SANRAL is prepared to ram e-tolling through at virtually any cost,” he said.
He encouraged road users to visit the OUTA website at www.outa.co.za for further details on the
current e-tolling legal process and to make a contribution to their legal fees for OUTA’s
upcoming e-tolling fight in the Supreme Court of Appeal. “We cannot stop e-tolling without the
help of the public,” he concluded.