Fin24

E-toll judgment reserved

2012-11-28 17:08

Pretoria - Gauteng motorists will only know later what the fate of the Gauteng e-tolling system will be, after the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria reserved judgment on the matter on Wednesday.

"I don't have to say this, but judgment is reserved," Judge Louis Vorster said.

"I don't want to keep the public waiting and will be as expeditious as possible, but I don't want to tie myself down to a specific date."

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) wanted the court to review and set aside the SA National Roads Agency Limited's (Sanral) decision to declare sections of Gauteng's freeways as toll roads.

Outa accused Sanral of having deliberately kept the public in the dark and being dishonest about the implementation of tolls in Gauteng.

David Unterhalter SC, for Sanral, rejected the claim as reckless. Outa had to look at the facts of the case and the affidavits submitted by Sanral, the transport department and Treasury. Outa should present facts to back up its "extraordinary deception".

"There are no facts that support the claim of dishonesty," Unterhalter argued.

"It [the claim] is reckless, it is gratuitous... To raise dishonesty in this way is to colour the facts a certain way."

The allegation that Sanral had "cut corners" to meet the 2010 Soccer World Cup deadline was not true.

Outa lawyer Mike Maritz argued that e-tolling should be set aside because there had been no thorough public consultation.

"E-tolling should be set aside until Sanral can come up with a proper proposal that can work, and then invite the public to comment," Maritz said in his closing argument.

During the three days, Sanral, the transport department and Treasury had argued that the application should be dismissed.

Maritz said responses to his submission were sarcastic.

Jeremy Gauntlett SC, for the Treasury, argued that Outa's application was based on a sham.

"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 Unterhalter that all relevant civil society organisations representing Gauteng motorists had known about e-tolling and the user-pays principle, but had done nothing until the tariffs were introduced.

Unterhalter said these organisations stood by for years while construction was in progress.

On Wednesday, Gauntlett argued that civil society waited until after roadworks had been completed to raise objections.

"Civil society is a watchdog, but it must get out of the kennel and bark," he said.

"[The application] is their attempt to delay the inevitable."

He said Outa had gone to court without a properly-argued case.

Maritz said Sanral had had "no real intention" to hold proper public consultations.

Vincent Maleka SC, for the transport department, told the court roads in Gauteng had been upgraded, that the public had supported the upgrades and that it could not be reversed.

On Tuesday morning, Unterhalter contended that Outa 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 executive.

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.

Comments
  • heathway.master - 2012-11-28 17:43

    SANRAL blew R75 billion of public funds without any consultation, openness, or agreement from the public. They are now in so much financial k*k due to their completely irresponsible spending, they are trying to blame the public for their crass stupidity. SANRAL you got into this financial mess all by yourself, now get out of it all by yourself, and leave the overtaxed motorist completely alone. OUTA, Afriforum, Freedom Front, COSATU, ANCYL, DA are all fully behind the motorist. If you think we are l going to shake at the knees at the soon to be introduced, severe and punitive Government legislation, think again. Ever heard of the expression "TOTAL PUBLIC DISOBEDIENCE AND OPPOSITION" Sorry SANRAL, the public have simply had enough of more and more Government taxation. The final straw has been pulled, and no number of smart lawyers will help your case. The longer this saga drags on, the angrier the motorist becomes.To put things into perspective, one of the Governments most controversial spends was the 40 Billion Arms Deal. This amount is nearly double. What did the insane SANRAL think it was up to. The reason I do not feel a tinkers dam about SANRAL, is that each Government Organisation gets given a yearly budget on what they can spend, according to the tax revenue collected during that particular year. This budget is the money the Government decides it can afford. If SANRAL in its wisdom has decided to totally ignore the budget, let them get stuffed.

      Jack - 2012-11-28 23:22

      The real culprit is National Treasury. No funds can be spent without their approval. SCAMRAL is the effect the cause is NT and their Chinese accounting.

  • freddy.vanwijk - 2012-11-28 17:43

    The upgrading on the highways have not been completed even as we speak. We motorists have definately been CONNED from day one when this rediculous issue of e-tolling first started. PERIOD!!

  • michael.bushes.5 - 2012-11-28 18:02

    What upgrades? These upgrades are SUPPOSED to happen naturally as the population increases naturally, from tax monies collected. Its a national asset and what eTolling would do, would be to effectively privatise the Gauteng national roads.

  • ernest.letsoalo - 2012-11-28 18:13

    Just scrab the e-tolls and stop waisting our time..we are been robbed and bullied by SANRAL,Dept of transport!!!there is nothing to think about!!!

  • Karel Fourie - 2012-11-28 18:20

    What if SANRAL decides to close the outer 2 or 3 lanes and bring it al back to just the 2 lane plus shoulder as it was before and leave it like that. How hectic would traffic be again. Nobody complains year end that toll to durban is about R190 down and R190 back up.

      Blackpoison - 2012-11-28 18:29

      Yes we don't complain because that's once a year. If e-tolls comes in then we will be paying that every month. You didn't think that through quite well did you?

      makarapakaplan - 2012-11-28 19:01

      The off ramps are worse than they used to be so what is ur point?

      thomas.more.946179 - 2012-11-28 23:15

      Karel, I think you miss the point here. Nobody is denying to pay for the upgrade of roads. This whole issue is about how to pay for the roads. To put a system in place which cost more to administer than to plough back into the infrastructure just doesn't make sense. Why doesn't government or Sanral just play open cards with the public and come up with a solution that benefit the taxpayer as well as government, and that money collected via petrol levies etc. used for the real purpose to upgrade and maintain roads.

      hein.helmand - 2012-11-29 06:50

      Year end to Durbs is once a year,not every day to work to pay toll.

      envar.nakwa - 2012-11-29 11:50

      The toll to Durban was paid off about 6 six years ago. Why have they not reduced this amount.

  • oscar.mashigo.3 - 2012-11-28 18:34

    Get tagged and be crewed.

  • robes.spear - 2012-11-28 18:44

    Win or lose the only loser here is South Africa. SANRAL, the Treasury and Government have lost the moral high ground through their arrogance in attempting to force what is essentially a tax on an already overtaxed public. For the first time the taxpaying public and the poor are presenting a united front against maladministration at the very least, or possibly corruption on the other side of the spectrum. Accountability and transparency are words unfamiliar to our government. As commented in the public briefings government only seems to hear the voice of violence. There should be a sign in every government office: "Beware when the average law abiding tax paying citizen revolts". History has many examples of such instances and I cannot think of a government that survived. Treasury, a once respected institution, has joined the NPA in losing substantial credibility with the public. The very credibility of the government is tainted. A government can only govern with the support of its people. As the private sector, which is the only principled source of good governance and integrity left in the country, withdraws from participation in flawed processes, and honest Joe seeks to break free from the corrupt and injust system being built around him (and through his efforts), the system will eventually crumble under its own dishonest weight. I cry from my country and what the ANC has done to it.

  • craig.hopkins.376 - 2012-11-28 18:58

    Same as my speeding fines, not paying as I refuse to contribute towards corruption.

  • alan.ingram.355 - 2012-11-28 19:12

    I say the Gauteng public be allowed to have a referendum to vote YES or NO for E-tolling !!!!!!!

  • sarelp.mouton - 2012-11-28 19:13

    Why will certain vehicles, like taxi's not be liable to pay e-toll? Is that because Sanral know what will happen to e-toll if all the taxi's decide to strike against e-toll and block the highways for a few days/weeks? What could the reason be otherwise?

      hein.helmand - 2012-11-29 06:46

      Who's going to count the votes.?

  • robes.spear - 2012-11-28 19:16

    Win or lose the only loser here is South Africa. SANRAL, the Treasury and Government have lost the moral high ground through their arrogance in attempting to force what is essentially a tax on an already overtaxed public. For the first time the taxpaying public and the poor are presenting a united front against maladministration at the very least, or possibly corruption on the other side of the spectrum. Accountability and transparency are words unfamiliar to our government. As commented in the public briefings government only seems to hear the voice of violence. There should be a sign in every government office: "Beware when the average law abiding tax paying citizen revolts". History has many examples of such instances and I cannot think of a government that survived. Treasury, a once respected institution, has joined the NPA in losing substantial credibility with the public. The very credibility of the government is tainted. A government can only govern with the support of its people. As the private sector, which is the only principled source of good governance and integrity left in the country, withdraws from participation in flawed processes, and honest Joe seeks to break free from the corrupt and injust system being built around him (and through his efforts), the system will eventually crumble under its own dishonest weight.

  • robes.spear - 2012-11-28 19:19

    Win or lose the only loser here is South Africa. SANRAL, the Treasury and Government have lost the moral high ground through their arrogance in attempting to force what is essentially a tax on an already overtaxed public. For the first time the taxpaying public and the poor are presenting a united front against maladministration at the very least, or possibly corruption on the other side of the spectrum. Negotiation, communication, accountability and transparency are words unfamiliar to our government. As commented in the public briefings government only seems to hear the voice of violence. There should be a sign in every government office: "Beware when the average law abiding tax paying citizen revolts". History has many examples of such instances and I cannot think of a government that survived. Treasury, a once respected institution, has joined the NPA in losing substantial credibility with the public. The very heart of government has been tainted. A government can only govern with the support of its people. As the private sector, which is the only principled source of good governance and integrity left in the country, withdraws from participation in dictated processes, and honest Joe seeks to break free from the corrupt and injust system being built around him (and through his efforts), the regime will eventually crumble under its own dishonest weight.

  • davin.hansen007 - 2012-11-28 22:11

    @Vincent Maleka from the transport department, those roads are supposed to be upgraded and kept in pristine condition. That is why we pay taxes. If I have to pay e-toll I will stop paying my taxes. Stop stealing from us you useless idiots.

  • Jack - 2012-11-28 23:18

    The judge should reserve judgement indefinitely. Let Unterhalter run the Gauntlett and let SCAMRAL die a financial death.

  • brionyl.french - 2012-11-29 04:59

    So then JRA better get every road up to scratch thats the back roads because people WILL NOT PAY! I wont! And in just my 7min drive to work i have to dodge about 20 large holes... But I will NEVER USE THE HIGHWAY AGAIN!!!

      ashleigh.ronaldon - 2012-11-29 10:26

      Use the highways. It belong to us. Just dont register for an e tag or pay.

  • warwick.railton.7 - 2012-11-29 07:17

    Let's hope the courts serve the people, we are losing faith in our justice system.

  • arthur.salvado - 2012-11-29 07:17

    All the arguments presented in court have NO relevance until such time there's an explanation as to the secrecy of the contract. It is our money and the public MUST demand the release of these secret contracts. Its not as if the security of the country is at risk. Maybe, there is a connection to the arms deal. In any event, I suspect theft in a grand grand way. All else remains irrelevant. Stop waisting taxpayers money in court cases. Release the secret contracts NOW

      allan.keyzer - 2012-11-29 09:32

      I was under the impression that OUTA signed a Confidentiality Contract so it could get the contract as it would be part of the court case. Where is it and why was this not discussed? Looks like they managed to silence OUTA.

  • brian.stolzenberg.9 - 2012-11-29 11:03

    Big Picture everyone - Our Democratically elected officials are making the rules. If you don't like it, you should know what to do!! Use your vote correctly the next time!!

  • andrea.altgayer - 2012-11-29 11:12

    This is what really happened - in 2008, Sanral said that the highway improvements would be for the 2010 world cup. What happened next? They fixed the highways, but the work was so sloppy that they started crumbling a few months after they were built. Sanral now wants us to pay for the mistakes made by substandard contractors. This is EXTORTION!!!!!

  • vosloo3 - 2012-11-29 11:21

    i am going to be part of the youth that is going to break down the bloody things if they pass this law!... if i go to jail, i know i will sit with a few hundred youth's who are proud to be a South-African, and will fight for the fairness and well-being of the people! Awe ma se kinders!

  • vosloo3 - 2012-11-29 11:25

    "The mother of all battles is imminent," Sangoni-Khawe said. and i will be the first one breaking those blue lights!, if i go to jail, ill sit with hundreds of youth's, that will fight for the fairness of the people of this country! lets hope this is the eye opener for all, think carefullly before you vote the next election! AWE, ma se kinders! :P

  • cjhellyar - 2012-12-05 17:52

    I had not been informed that tolls were to be introduced and believed that he minimum work done to upgrade the roads would be paid by the proceeds of the soccer. As a second point, every morning and evening we hear about delays as a result of blocking of highways - is credit to be granted in these instances.

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