Call to make all e-toll contracts public

THE details of the electronic toll collection contract should not be kept confidential, the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance said.

"It shouldn't be confidential. It is taxpayers' money that is being used to pay the tolls so the taxpayer should know what the money is being used for," said Outa chairman Wayne Duvenage.

But there was nothing he could do about it, after Outa agreed to sign a confidentiality agreement, Duvenage said.

He said that was the only way Outa would have been able to get access to the e-toll contract to prepare for its court case.

Duvenage was responding to a report yesterday that parts of the high court review of the project in November could be held in camera because of the confidentiality agreement.

This meant that taxpayers may never know the full agreements, pricing and subcontracts surrounding e-tolling.

Last month, the Constitutional Court overturned an interim order which had put a hold on the Gauteng e-tolling project. During the case, the legal team representing the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) had made selective references to the e-toll contract which Outa had not seen.

"Now imagine a court case for them to use the contract even though we had not seen it," said Duvenage.

"We needed to see them ... so we were asked to sign a confidentiality agreement to see it."

The Democratic Alliance said the signing of the confidentiality agreement was suspicious.

"We have to ask why does Sanral appear to be hiding something, and who is it seeking to protect?" DA MPL Neil Campbell asked in a statement.

He said full disclosure had to be given to Gauteng residents.

"This case should take place with unrestricted public access, despite indications that Sanral wants part of it to be held behind closed doors," said Campbell.

"Anything less than full disclosure will confirm Sanral and government have something to hide."

He said Parliament, on request, received 27 of the 33 contracts relating to the e-tolls. The others were not given.

The review is expected to take place in the Pretoria High Court on November 26.

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