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Cape toll ruling echoes early warnings on Sanral - Outa

Mar 30 2015 17:07

Johannesburg - The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruling on the Cape Winelands toll project reflects concerns expressed in other judgments against Sanral over the past decade, according to the Opposition To Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa).

Outa said it welcomes Monday’s ruling by the SCA, which has now lifted the veil of secrecy on certain court papers Sanral has sought to keep hidden from the public concerning the N1 and N2 Cape Winelands private tolling concession scheme.

According to Outa, the ruling "echoes the concerns expressed by other judgments against Sanral over the past decade, which have also expressed alarm at the opaque and evasive public engagement processes conducted by Sanral".

READ: Cape Town discloses Sanral's tolling secrets

"Section 195 of the SA Constitution is unambiguous on the values and principles expected of state-owned entities and Sanral has to now show commitment to those nine statements of principle and to stop using the courts and 'lawfare' as a substitute for meaningful public engagement processes," said Outa in a statement.

"We have seen the abject failure of Sanral's Gauteng e-toll system and how aptly the court of public opinion matters regarding such schemes. Sanral’s failure to satisfy the needs of people affected by their plans and to comply with the concomitant duty to satisfy the right of access to information is a non-starter."

Outa pointed out that roads are long-term socio-economic infrastructures which have inter-generational ramifications far into the future.

"Consequently no effort should be spared in its view in ensuring the people are enthusiastically behind these projects, and more so with those which attempt to subject the users to a road toll tax in order to finance these schemes," Outa chair Wayne Duvenage said on Monday.

READ: Give Sanral a medal - economist

Outa is also outraged at Sanral’s proposed toll tariffs and its CEO’s alleged transgressions of the Sanral Act, as mentioned by the City of Cape Town.

"If indeed it is true that the CEO has not acted in accordance with his limits of authority and that the Protea Parkways Consortium’s toll concession included protection by means of public revenues to cover any shortfall of its expensive toll tariffs, this would be a most shocking matter and would warrant the minister of transport to take stringent action accordingly," said Duvenage.

In a statement, Outa said it expects the Sanral board to provide urgent answers on the matter.

"Now that the public has access to all information relating to Sanral’s plan to toll the urban and Winelands freeways of the Western Cape, it appears that Sanral’s decisions are dubious and bordering on undue enrichment of private entities through unjustified and exorbitant plans to extraction of funds from the public," said Duvenage.

"This, in turn, will give rise to a serious public resistance and, once again, Sanral has displayed a lack of regard for the will of the people. Accordingly, we repeat our call to the minister of transport and the deputy president to conduct a social audit of Sanral’s behaviour."

ALSO READ: Sanral welcomes Nene's e-toll stance

outa  |  sanral  |  wayne duvenage  |  western cape  |  transport  |  sa economy  |  tolls
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