Pretoria - A case by the Opposition to Urban Tolling
Alliance (Outa) to have e-tolling scrapped is based on a sham, the High Court
in Pretoria heard on Wednesday.
"It was all a sham... They used the sham to get out of
a hole," argued Jeremy Gauntlett SC, who is appearing for the National
"Fraud cuts through all things.... The sham is vital to
their new case. They argue that they should be excused for their delay."
Gauntlett echoed arguments made on Tuesday by David
Unterhalter SC, for the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral), that all
relevant civil society organisations representing Gauteng motorists had known
about e-tolling and the user-pay principle, but had done nothing until the
tariffs were introduced.
Unterhalter argued that these organisations stood by for
years while construction was taking place and could see the upgrades.
On Wednesday, Gauntlett argued that civil society waited
until after construction before saying it did not like the user-pay principle.
"Civil society is a watchdog, but it must get out of
the kennel and bark," he said.
"Civil society must take action before the eve of the
Gauntlett said its argument was "futile", and that
it should have taken action sooner.
"(The application) is their attempt to delay the
inevitable," he said.
He said Outa had gone to court without a properly argued
"Outa has been hopping around to make a case of
dishonesty against Sanral and run a new case on that basis," he submitted.
Its case was a matter of public finance and should not be
argued in court as it would "harm" the country, Gauntlett argued.
He said the case should be dismissed, and that the Treasury
stood by Sanral and the transport department.
The court is hearing final arguments in the case.
Gauntlett said the Treasury had nothing to do with the case,
but was a respondent because of the effects on the economy if e-tolling was
He said Outa had failed to bring an ordinary commuter who
would explain how they would be affected.
"Where is the person who would say Sanral lied to
them?" Gauntlett asked.
"This application should be dropped like a stone. The
application has taken up so much paper and legal time."
Vincent Maleka SC, for the transport department, told the
court roads in Gauteng had been upgraded and that the public had supported the
"That (upgrade) can't be reversed."
On Tuesday morning, Unterhalter contended that Outa had
changed its submissions in September after the Constitutional Court overturned
an interim order putting the Gauteng e-tolling project on hold.
The Constitutional Court found the High Court in Pretoria
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.