Pretoria - Government welcomed the ruling by the North Gauteng High Court
to dismiss an application to scrap e-tolls in Gauteng on Thursday,
and urged motorists to respect the ruling.
"The judgment vindicates government's view that it had
followed due process and met all regulatory requirements in declaring portions
of the Gauteng freeways as toll roads in 2007," spokesperson Thabo Masebe
said in a statement.
"Government calls on all parties to respect the
decision of the court and together move forward in the implementation of the
The Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) was being
delivered within a "broader context" of improvements to integrated
public transport and improvements to non-toll alternative routes, he said.
Judge Louis Vorster on Thursday found that the GFIP was
lawfully done and dismissed an application by the Opposition to Urban Tolling
Alliance (Outa) to have e-tolls set aside on Gauteng's freeways.
He said the application could not succeed and ordered Outa
to pay costs.
Outa applied to have e-tolls scrapped and said the method
proposed to collect money from motorists was too expensive. It argued in
November that public participation had not taken place.
Vorster said the argument by Outa was "flawed" and
that government had done enough to inform the public.
Masebe said government called on road users to buy an e-tag
and to respect the court processes.
Disappointed by ruling
Meanwhile, Outa, the Automobile Association of SA and the
Democratic Alliance expressed their disappointment with the court ruling on
"A precedent has now been set for urban tolling to
continue throughout the rest of the country," AA spokesperson Gary Ronald
said in a statement.
"Despite this outcome we still firmly believe that an
alternative funding option could have come from the fuel levy."
Ronald said motorists in the country have emerged as the
"ultimate loser" in the battle and the ruling will mean significant
additions to the costs of motoring in Gauteng.
The DA's Jack Bloom, who was in court, urged the government
to reconsider the project, saying residents would not be happy with the ruling.
"This is unlikely to appease the residents of Gauteng,
who are adamantly against the tolls," he said.
"The DA calls on premier Nomvula Mokonyane to call a
referendum so that people can have their say on the matter. Public protests
will continue unless the e-tolls are stopped."
Outa's chairperson Wayne Duvenhage said that they would
study the judgment before they decide a way forward regarding the costs and a
He urged people to not buy e-tags.
"We still strongly believe that e-tolling is wrong. The
decision is wrong," he said after court.
"The will of the people is clear... We don't believe
that this is the right way of raising funds for infrastructure
Duvenhage said they strongly believe their decision was the
right one, saying government's decision was not taken in the favour of society.
"I'm very disappointed and believe we put a strong