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Duvenhage: Outa's challenge excellent

Nov 29 2012 17:53

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Johannesburg - The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) had put up an excellent court challenge to Gauteng's tolling plans, its spokesperson Wayne Duvenage said on Thursday.

"Our legal team felt it prudent to focus our energy in the review on the illegal nature of Sanral's shockingly poor public engagement process," he said.

This, despite other issues which were "very wrong", such as the high costs of e-tolling, its inefficiency, the lack of alternative transport and routes, enforcement, compliance, and environmental matters.

"Our arguments went deep into interpretation of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, combined with the Constitution and how Section 27 of the Sanral [SA National Roads Agency Limited] Act needed to be taken in the context of these laws," he said.

Sanral had largely ignored its legal duty to conduct full and proper public consultations on its plan to toll the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), he said. As a result, tolling plans should be set aside.

When studying toll project successes and failures around the world, there was a high correlation between social acceptance or rejection, and the level of public engagement.

Matters for consultation included tariffs, alternative transport options, alternative routes, efficiency, and good communication.

Without these elements in place, tolling had failed around the world.

"Every one of these elements was missing in the plan to toll the GFIP," he said.

Even if the court found in Sanral's favour, the current toll plans would be difficult to introduce.

"We sincerely trust the authorities will be able to acknowledge this sooner rather than later, whatever the legal outcome."

Duvenage thanked businesses and the public for their donations and asked for these to continue.

"This challenge was sincere and meaningfully undertaken to protect our rights as citizens of South Africa," he said.

On Wednesday, the High Court in Pretoria reserved judgment in the case.

Outa wanted the court to review and set aside Sanral's decision to declare sections of Gauteng's freeways toll roads.

outa  |  sanral  |  tolls  |  e-tolling
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