Johannesburg - Cabinet's decision to appeal against the high court in
Pretoria's interim order against e-tolling was condemned by opposition
parties on Thursday.
The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) described the decision as "regrettable".
This would further delay the finalisation of litigation around the project.
"We believe the review application would shed important
light on various issues, including the contacts relating to the cost of
collection," said ACDP spokesperson Steve Swart in a statement.
"It is significant that the minister of transport has
requested copies of various contracts, indicating that he too was
unaware of the exact costs of collection."
Swart said the ACDP would inquire whether the National
Treasury would bail out the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral),
and if so, to what extent this would be.
"It seems at the end of the day the taxpayer will have
to pay for this debacle, either in the form of user charges, should the
court challenge be unsuccessful, or in the form of a bailout from
National Treasury," he said.
The Freedom Front Plus said the government was showing its contempt for taxpayers with its decision to appeal.
"Government is trying to prove a point with taxpayer's money," said FFPlus spokesperson Anton Alberts in a statement.
"Government did not consider road users before the
Gauteng e-toll system was constructed and is now ignoring the
overwhelming opposition by taxpayers and road users to the toll roads."
His party was of the opinion that there were not sufficient legal grounds for the government to succeed in its appeal.
The Justice Project of SA (JPSA) expressed disappointment at cabinet's decision.
It was sad to see the government persist with its stance in the face of such overwhelmingly public opposition, it said.
"We also need to ask whether the intention to appeal
the interdict has anything to do with an attempt to halt a full inquiry
into the project in order to cover up possible corruption or not," it
said in a statement.
It called for the issue to be put up for referendum.
"A ringfenced fuel levy will achieve the objectives of
paying for these roads and others still to come in a far more efficient
and less costly manner," it said.
The Democratic Alliance said cabinet's decision to appeal was "foolish and doomed to fail".
The interim order issued by Judge Bill Prinsloo was
unlikely to be overturned, as sound reasons had been given for it, DA
spokesperson Jack Bloom said.
"Government's appeal will just drag out the court proceedings, creating further uncertainty in the credit markets."
He was puzzled by the government's hard line, as Sanral had itself indicated it would not appeal the case.
"It would be far better if government cancelled the
e-toll collection contract, rather than continue with a long, drawn-out
court battle," he said.
Cabinet spokesperson Jimmy Manyi said earlier the
government would appeal against the interim order. He said the
government only received a written copy of the April 28 judgment late on
"As we are sitting here, our lawyers are studying the
judgment and will advise the executive in due course," he told a
fortnightly post-cabinet briefing.