OUTA is concerned that the voices of Gauteng’s road users were not heard in the Constitutional Court today but were sacrificed in terms of a legal technicality related to the courts ability to interfere with the executive powers of government.
While we acknowledge the importance of the separation of powers and appreciate the need for Government to govern, we are concerned at how broad based citizen groups like OUTA may be constrained, in the future, from effectively challenging major decisions taken by Government, when this is done without the necessary preparation, rationality and proper processes being followed, which may be proven to be fundamentally flawed and almost impossible to reverse.
Central to OUTA’s argument was whether road users were adequately consulted in 2008. Given that e-Tolling is such a major policy implementation decision, we would have expected SANRAL to have executed their public engagement process to a far greater extent than that which took place, including more detail around pricing, enforcement and implementation.
OUTA and its broad based constituents from business to minority groups have always said they were not opposed to paying for the upgrades but wanted an efficient funding solution. The current e-Toll model is not cost efficient.
The decision today technically grants SANRAL an opportunity to launch e-Tolling in Gauteng, however, much has yet to be done before they can do so, namely;
1) Revised tariff pricing must be published
2) The final Terms and Conditions must be published
3) Greater clarity and final regulations required regarding the e-Toll exemptions
4) SANRAL’s revised regulations in terms the so called e-toll police needs to be finalised
5) The enforcement method for non e-Toll payment remains very unclear
OUTA is however, encouraged by the recent remarks from Government that they are prepared to consider alternative forms of funding for GFIP and other national transport infrastructure programs. We also welcome the ongoing work of the GFIP Inter Ministerial Committee to find an alternative solution to e-Tolling and we look forward to engaging with them further, as soon as possible.
It is important to note that today’s decision does not negatively impact, in any way, our current preparation for the High Court review in November. We will also monitor very closely how SANRAL reacts to today’s decision as we feel that there remains too much to be done to relaunch e-Tolling in advance of the review. Ultimately it will be how road users and business themselves respond to any re-launch attempts. We continue to encourage road users to be mindful of the implications of purchasing an e-tag in advance of the review.
Chairperson – Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA)