State's appeal of e-toll ruling 'disappointing'
'If this Gauteng e-tolling is allowed to happen, it will become the precedent for all future urban road infrastructure upgrades throughout South Africa'
OPPOSITION to the Urban Tolling Alliance has confirmed it has received the affidavits from the Treasury, Sanral and four others, who have lodged papers in the Constitutional Court to appeal the interdict against e-tolling of Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) granted on April 28 2012 by Judge Prinsloo.
Outa chairman Wayne Duvenage said their legal team was assessing the affidavits and was preparing responses to defend the appeal.
"We are disappointed by the government's decision to appeal since by doing so they have clearly indicated their desire to press on with Sanral's inefficient and unjustified e-tolling plans," Duvenage said.
"If e-tolling of GFIP is allowed to happen it will become the precedent for all future urban road infrastructure upgrades throughout SA and motorists will be forced to pay very high fees to partially fund the infrastructure costs as well as the extremely costly administration processes proposed by Sanral," he said.
Over the past two weeks Outa have had three meetings with MEC Ishmail Vadi. The second of these included (and was chaired by) ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, to discuss and explore their understanding of each other's views on the best funding mechanisms for GFIP.
"At our last meeting with MEC Vadi we believed there was an improved understanding by them of our reasons and the rationale for questioning the inefficiencies and unacceptably high costs of e-tolling," Duvenage said.
Gauteng DA spokesman Jack Bloom said: "If this appeal fails, it will add to the delay since the court review process will then proceed on the merits of the e-tolls, which could take as long as a year.
"This extra delay would intensify Sanral's funding crisis."
He said an extremely important principle is at stake in this Constitutional Court challenge.
"If government wins it will severely circumscribe judicial intervention in a government policy matter," he said.
"Sanral and the Treasury should have a contingency plan to scrap the e-toll contract if their appeal fails, and then move swiftly to alternative more cost-effective funding sources.
"Financial markets hate uncertainty, so the longer the court process continues the more Sanral woes will worsen."