Govt to appeal e-Toll ruling
CABINET is to appeal a damaging court ruling that has forced government to halt the controversial tolling of Gauteng freeways.
Spokesman Jimmy Manyi said cabinet had taken a decision to appeal the interim court order granted by the Pretoria High Court last month.
Manyi said government would "pull out everything" to ensure that the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) pays off its R20-billion debt.
Manyi said yesterday that cabinet this week decided that "defaulting on our debt is simply not an option".
Sanral incurred the R20-billion debt after taking up loans in the financial markets to finance the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project ahead of the 2010 soccer world. The plan was to make motorists pay for using the provinces highways in a bid to raise funds to settle the loans.
But the move has been met with stiff opposition from a wide range of stakeholders such as labour federation Cosatu, the Automobile Association and the roads freight industry companies.
The Transport Department had already agreed to put on hold the April 30 implementation date of the tolling system following a meeting between the ruling party and Cosatu shortly before the court order was granted.
It is estimated that Sanral has lost about R2.7-billion as a result of the postponement of the e-tolls and credit ratings agency Moody's has now downgraded Sanral, raising concerns about the entity's ability to pay off its debts.
However, Manyi was adamant that the state agency would eventually be able to pay its creditors.
He said that an inter-ministerial committee chaired by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe was mulling over measures to help Sanral meet its financial obligations.