Johannesburg - The Automobile Association vowed on Thursday
to fight the introduction of e-tolling in Gauteng after a Constitutional Court
ruling that lifted a hold on its introduction.
"We remain committed to fight e-tolling in Gauteng and
we continue to urge our members to not register for e-tags, as we still believe
in an equitable solution," said Gary Ronald, head of public affairs at the
AA, following Thursday's judgment.
"This ruling shows little consideration for the serious
impact that tolling will have on the already financially-stretched consumer and
the added cost to business in the province," he said.
The court ruled earlier in the day that an interim order
granted by the High Court in Pretoria on April 28, which put a hold on the
project, be set aside.
It concluded that the high court had not considered the
separation of powers between high court and executive.
Earlier, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) was
adamant that there would be no tolling on Gauteng's freeways.
"We are going to resist it with every power we
have," Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi told reporters on the
sidelines of Cosatu's 11th national congress in Midrand.
Meanwhile the government welcomed the ruling.
"The ruling reaffirms government's conviction that the
North (Gauteng) High Court had erred in its judgement which interferes with policy
making, a responsibility of the executive," a statement following
Thursday's ruling said.
"Government respects the right of any member of the
public to approach the courts to review its decisions and operations within the
country's legal framework," the statement from Transport Department
Director General George Mahlalala said.
"Government remains convinced about the appropriateness
of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), with the user-pay principle
as part of our country's investment in road infrastructure and our collective
drive to grow the economy," he said.
The development of a country's road infrastructure played a
critical role in building its economy and sustaining its growth by facilitating
the movement of goods and services across the country.
Government would study the judgment and make an announcement
on the way forward soon.
Outa leader Wayne Duvenage said it wouldn't be possible for
the government to start tolling "tomorrow" because there were still
outstanding issues to be dealt with.
"They can't start e-tolling tomorrow," he said.
The issues include tariff exemptions and other work to get
the project up and running again.
The actual review hearing will take place in November.
Outa will hold a media briefing later on Thursday.
The Constitutional Court declined the Democratic Alliance
and Road Freight Association's applications as friends of the court.
The DA's Gauteng caucus leader Jack Bloom said Sanral would
find it difficult to implement the e-tolls in the face of widespread public
Legislation to implement the tolls had also still not been
passed in Parliament.
"The DA will oppose this so that the public are treated
fairly in this matter," he said in a statement.
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