Pretoria - E-tolling of Gauteng freeways got the legal nod
on Thursday when the North Gauteng High Court dismissed an application to have
the project scrapped.
"The application is dismissed," Judge Louis
Vorster said, reading out his judgment.
"In my view the application cannot succeed."
Vorster ruled that the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance,
as the applicant, should pay the costs of the SA national Roads Agency limited
(Sanral), the transport department, National Treasury, the MEC of roads and
transport in Gauteng, minister of water and environmental affairs and the
director general of the department.
"The applicants are ordered to pay jointly and
severally the costs reserved by the Constitutional Court to the respondents who
participated in that appeal before the Constitutional Court."
He said the costs order included the cost of counsel.
After the judgment, Sanral CEO Nazir Alli was seen hugging
his colleagues. He said he was pleased with the outcome.
"We are not here to crook, we are not going to be
shedding any kind of crocodile tears or anything of that sort," he told
"We are here to implement government policy. I would
like all of us to turn around and respect the decision of the courts.
"It is unfortunate that Outa showed total disregard and
disrespect for the decision of the Constitutional Court."
He appealed to the media to report "correctly and
truthfully" on the e-toll matter, saying there had been untruths, lies and
half-truths published against Sanral.
Alli urged people to buy e-tags.
Outa chairperson Wayne Duvenhage shook his head after Voster
made his judgment.
"I think today's judgment represents a sad day for
South Africa's democracy as it demonstrates government's ability to railroad
public engagement policy and thereby make decisions that are not in the best
interest of society," he said.
"The outcome also sends a clear message about the lack
of importance of citizens' input, and will have an input in society's feeling
powerless against the state, and its bulldozer tactics in driving its own
agendas and policies."
He said the decision would have an impact on South Africa's
Outa was never opposed to society paying for infrastructure
upgrades, Duvenhage said.
Outa believed Sanral would never be ready to launch
"We sincerely ask Sanral and government to reconsider
their decision to toll our urban freeways," Duvenhage said.
"We now call on Gauteng motorists to not purchase
e-tags, as legally they are not obliged to do so."
Duvenhage said his legal team would study the judgment
before deciding the way forward.
Director-general George Mahlalela said it was unclear when
e-tolling would begin, saying the minister would make an announcement.
"We are pleased with the judgment, we think that it
closes a chapter and gives us an opportunity to move forward," he said.
"The minister will very soon announce, after all the
submissions were made, the way forward. We are still working on the
Vorster found that the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project
scheme was done lawfully.
In September, the Constitutional Court overturned an interim
order putting the Gauteng e-tolling project on hold.
The Constitutional Court found the North Gauteng High Court
had not considered the separation of powers between the high court and the
On April 28, the high court granted the interdict to Outa,
ruling that a full review needed to be carried out before e-tolling could be
put into effect.
The interdict prevented Sanral from levying or collecting
e-tolls pending the outcome of the review.
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