Johannesburg - The National Treasury has applied to
intervene in the Gauteng e-toll case to be heard by the High Court in Pretoria
"There would be serious negative implications for
future financing of roads and investment in public transport, were Sanral (the SA National Roads Agency
Ltd) to be
interdicted from implementing the toll collection system," Treasury said
in a statement on Monday.
The Treasury has applied for leave to intervene in the
application to be heard by the court on Tuesday.
"National Treasury... will argue that the interdict
should be denied and the implementation of toll collection should be permitted
to proceed, as has been decided by cabinet and in keeping with the provisions
of the Sanral Act."
The application has been brought by the Opposition to Urban
Tolling Alliance, the SA Vehicle Renting and Leasing Association, The Quadpara
Association of SA and the SA National Consumer Union.
They want to stop the levying and collection of tolls on
certain roads in the Gauteng from going ahead on April 30.
The respondents in the case are Sanral, the minister of transport, the Gauteng MEC of roads and transport, the minister of water and environmental affairs, the director general
of the department of water and environmental affairs, and the National Consumer
Treasury said the case was important because it affects the
state's ability to finance road infrastructure.
It also has significant implications for the integrity and
sustainability of the public finances, Treasury said.
"Of concern also is the implication for Sanral's
capacity to repay its debt, which is partially guaranteed by government.
"The integrity and sustainability of government's
continued access to capital markets is a vital and essential determinant of
South Africa's capacity to finance the infrastructure required for economic
growth, development and rising living standards," the Treasury said.
Government has contributed R5.75bn to the project so that
user toll fees would be lower, Treasury said.
Tolling of certain major arterial roads is necessary for
economic growth and development.
"These routes are those which carry the heaviest
traffic load in the country, and serve as critical economic corridors for both
freight and personal travel purposes.
"In the case of the Gauteng freeway network, rising
traffic volumes and the resulting congestion costs to users are a further
argument for the recovery of costs through toll charges."
Treasury said road users benefit through improved safety,
lower travel time and lower operating costs.
"Based on the current toll proposals, which exempt taxi
operators and other public transport services, higher income users will account
for over 95% of toll revenue," Treasury said.