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Cape toll judgment 'saved the economy' - Winde

Sep 30 2015 17:44

Cape Town - Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities Alan Winde on Wednesday said a high court ruling to set aside the Winelands toll project has put the brakes on a project that would have crippled the economy.

"I applaud the City of Cape Town for their victory over Sanral (the SA National Roads Agency Limited) at the Western Cape High Court," said Winde in a statement. He added: "We have put a stop to the national government’s proposed toll road scheme that would have had a crippling effect on our economy."

The Western Cape aims to create a business-friendly environment, said Winde. However, toll roads would have been an economic deterrent. "Our economy, including new and emerging businesses, has been saved from the additional costs these toll roads would have imposed," said Winde.

Mayoral committee member for Transport for Cape Town Brett Herron called the court verdict a “resounding victory for the residents of Cape Town and the Western Cape”.

“The ruling has significant consequences, given the current economic climate where our residents, and in particular the poor, are already struggling to make ends meet,” he said in a statement.

City of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille echoed these sentiments, calling the court ruling a victory for all Capetonians.

Addressing the media after the judgment, De Lille said: “The people were never consulted and no socio-economic impact study was done as to what (the project) will cost.”

READ: Cape toll verdict a victory for the people - De Lille

However, Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona expressed disappointment at the court ruling.

The N1/N2 Winelands project has been more than a decade in the making, Mona said.

“It was conceived to improve the link between the Western Cape and the rest of the country. Substantial time, effort and investment have been put into its development."

Mona said the judgment meant benefits, which include safety benefits to road users and economic benefits to South Africa and the region, would either be delayed or not materialise it all.

This includes the creation of some 5 000 jobs for the initial construction period over the first three years of the project, and thereafter about 500 jobs per annum for the duration of the 30-year concession period.

READ: Cape toll ruling could cost thousands of jobs - Sanral

There is just no money from National Treasury to fund the project, according to Sanral. The only option is to have it operated by a concessionaire who will finance the cost of upgrading and expanding the road through equity and borrowings, which have to be repaid through tolls.

This could even permanently disadvantage the region: “If Sanral is not allowed to proceed with the project now, the province, the city and their constituents will not have the upgrades for at least the next 20 years, if at all,” Mona said.


sanral  |  western cape  |  cape town  |  tolls  |  winelands
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