E-toll notice was sterile, court hears

2012-11-26 13:20

Johannesburg - The initial notice of the intention to toll roads in Gauteng by Sanral was "sterile" and "misleading", the High Court in Pretoria heard on Monday.

Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) lawyer Mike Maritz argued that the public was not aware of what the SA National Roads Agency Limited's (Sanral) Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) would entail.

"There was virtually nothing to be contained in the sterile notice. It was positively misleading and it conveyed to the public that it was only existing roads that were going to be tolled," he said.

Maritz said this was why there was such a limited response to the notice.

"As far as the first batch of notices is concerned, there were only 30 respondents out of millions of interested road-using members of the general public," he said.

"That tells its own story."

He said Section 27 of the Sanral Act said public consultation and input on the project was "critical", however Sanral argued that the notice was enough.

This meant Sanral did not have to tell the public about the costs of the project or how it would be introduced.

He said Section 34 of the act stated that Sanral had several options to get capital for the project including fuel levies and help from parliament.

When construction on the project was underway, the Fifa Soccer World Cup planning had begun, and the man in the street did not know how the developments would be funded, Maritz argued.

"In the public mind, this was all part of the activity surrounding the World Cup. The typical road-user... did not know that it would be funded entirely by tolling."

He said it was possible that Sanral's alleged non-compliance with section 27 was a "deliberate strategy to keep the public in the dark".

If the principle of user-pay, or the e-tolls tariffs were released by Sanral in previous notices, the public outcry on the project would have happened earlier.

In September, the Constitutional Court overturned an interim order which had put a hold on the Gauteng e-tolling project.

The Constitutional Court found that the High Court in Pretoria had not considered the separation of powers between the high court and the executive.

In April, the high court granted Outa the interdict, ruling that a full review needed to be carried out before electronic tolling could be put into effect.

The interdict prevented Sanral from levying or collecting e-tolls pending the outcome of the review.

Sanral and the National Treasury appealed against the court order, and said delays prevented the payment of the R21bn incurred in building gantries.

  • joseph.vanvuuren - 2012-11-26 13:35

    "In the public mind, this was all part of the activity surrounding the World Cup. The typical road-user... did not know that it would be funded entirely by tolling." This is the truth!!!!!!

      petrus.ngwenya.3 - 2012-11-26 14:02

      Agreed. It was misdirection from the start. And the misleading, misinformation, lies etc are still going on. Where is the budget, list of benefactors, etc?

      eugene.meyer1980 - 2012-11-26 14:16

      The other truth is, its not just the court case that SANRAL needs to win. In fact, the court case is the least of its worries. What really matters is if they can win the public’s interest. I think SANRAL needs to stand down now, accept that they have lost...a long time ago...and just give this up. All they doing now is building up that huge loan with laywer fees now. Just stop this now SANRAL.

      michael.bushes.5 - 2012-11-26 14:29

      I heard about eTolling about 4 years ago, but thought it wouldnt happen. I was under the impression that existing toll plazas would be replaced by these electronic gantries and then that would be it. I never knew the entire freakin national road network in gauteng was going to be tolled. That is how i lived life until a year and a half ago or so when i realised the truth behind eTolling. Had we been exposed to repeated requests from the state to give our opinions, then it would never have reached this stage. I say, well done to OUTA, but im very disappointed at opposition parties in their sterile responses to the state many years ago, when this was just an idea. The ANC is trying to steal our money now because the opposition parties failed us many years ago before those gantries were being constructed. Why are we voting for this opposition parties when they cannot keep us informed of the ANC's scams when its still in its infancy? Vote Cape Party folks, for independence from corrupt ANC and useless and fast asleep opposition parties. Lets make the Cape independent, for us, and our children.

      jannie.beirowski - 2012-11-26 14:56

      ANC? A new, and much more correct expansion of this ID was made last week, being Absolutly No Consequence! Will there be any consequence of this e-toll opposition to the benefit of the general public? Any retaliation against Sanral and the clever guys who started this robbery? Let us hope and pray the courts will rule in our favour!

      flysouth - 2012-11-26 15:20

      @michael.bushes5 What makes you think the opposition parties could penetrate the deceit and lies, just as you and many others also failed to do? Also the reason that the ANC is still mismanaging SA into desolation is because people in SA are NOT voting for the opposition - or do you think that opposition makes the decisions around here? Please study up on how the system works re government and opposition and who can make decisions and implement plans - it is not the opposition I can assure you!

      michael.bushes.5 - 2012-11-26 15:56

      "Please study up on how the system works re government and opposition and who can make decisions and implement plans - it is not the opposition I can assure you! " I find your statement quite pointless. The facts are that the opposition keeps the government in check, which it had failed to do regarding eTolling. Just before the implementation of it, all of a sudden they come to the fore when this had already been in the pipeline for many years.

  • daleinn - 2012-11-26 13:43

    So basically the public are dummmies and do not require consultation, these smart ass lawyers... Im glad yesterdays, sunday papers have educated the public about what a real scam this e-toll is.. and to the attorney that gets a salary..for arguing in the interests of scamral.. id say find a job with ethics, morals, values and beliefs that uphold to society!!!!

  • allan.keyzer - 2012-11-26 13:48

    a "deliberate strategy to keep the public in the dark" The ANC are experts in this field and want to further enhance this process through the Secrecy Bill. Taxpayers keep paying as the ANC knows how to spend without the need to be accountable!

  • brionyl.french - 2012-11-26 13:48

    When the ANC makes promises hold on to your purses and wallets because boy are they gonna milk the public for it

  • - 2012-11-26 13:51

    Did the building of the gantries really cost R21bn? What a bloody waste. Aren't the taxes added to our petrol supposed to pay for road repairs?

  • olivia.kgatla - 2012-11-26 13:53

    Now I wonder, did we host the world cup on credit?

  • vasee.pillay - 2012-11-26 13:54

    Another arms deal gone wrong. People are using the system to get rich. The high court must ask themselves ,does 185kms x 2= 20 billion rand.Existing roads are used to con the public which have already paid for the roads. The people should not pay for the roads. Treasury must not threathen the public but find other alternate means od funding the etoll. This should be a lesson for the govt. and sanrail not to to anything without first consulting the public. This is a lesson to them that they should not behave like this in future. A host of corrupt people and companies who rigged tenders and inflated the price to 20 bil should be left high and dry without a cent. Remember the public would not pay for this scam by the government. Sort your problems out. as the taxpayer cannot fit Zumas Nkandla compound together with etolling.

      petrus.ngwenya.3 - 2012-11-26 14:10

      Vasee, in other words, R20b / 370km = R 54 million per kilometer. I never thought of it that way. Or, R54 000 per meter. And that is before the recent increases.

      william.nettmann - 2012-11-26 15:06

      Or about R2900 per square meter. Is that expensive? I have no idea.

  • flysouth - 2012-11-26 13:57

    SANRAL has used every possible devious move to keep the public in the dark - and they are still doing so! Even after a court case forced them to provide documentary evidence relating to certain contracts signed, they 'redacted'(i.e. blacked out) most of the details! The deception and corruption is deep - equally as deep as the infamous Arms Deal and one has to question everything about this toll-scheme, since it now appears to be nothing more than a 'project' created and designed with a single purpose in mind, as was the Arms Deal - and that is to fill the pockets of a few ANC apparatchiks and cronies!

  • sonia.bloem - 2012-11-26 14:01

    I will not buy one of these e-tags... I will not let myself be robbed because people can't stick by budgets and then steal money from other funds!!! Government get yourself out of your own troubles!! And leave us the people be!!!

  • kaven.huang.50 - 2012-11-26 14:13

    "deliberate strategy to keep the public in the dark" The whole dame government is doing it in absolute perfection already, don't need another one!

  • richard.zanner - 2012-11-26 14:34

    Well for one I thought all these roadworks was part of the preparation for the Worldcup as was the building of stadiums and the completion of the Gautrain etc etc. Not in my wildest dreams did I think it was part of a scheme where roads are being upgraded and that we would be tolled for it. I believe that my belief was the belief of most people. Now tolling is being advertised so widely with signs on the roads etc but back then nothing was said.

      flysouth - 2012-11-26 15:28

      I am sure we were all told that the GFIP was part of the upgrades necessary for the World Cup - and at the time we may recall the questioning by many, including the DA, as to why such large amounts needed to be spent on upgrades of all manner of facilities, not limited to the roads. We were told that it would all be recouped in one way and another and absolutely no mention was made of tolls being applied to these roads! Such is the deception practiced as routine by the ANC. They really Do believe that we are all stupid!

      sheik.mohammad.378 - 2012-11-26 20:25

      Back in 2004 it was mooted that the up grading of the highway was part and parcel of the World Cup. We knew back then that the ANC could not be trusted, but the extent of their decite was not the well documented...............Now they and their president steal us blind in front of us, then pass laws to try and hide their thieft by stamping "TOP SECRET" on everything.

  • - 2012-11-26 14:36

    Who is the Sanral official that is disliking the comments posted above here? Because I bet the don't have the goolies to actually post something!

  • warwick.railton.7 - 2012-11-26 15:00

    sanral - economic terrorism.

  • braamc - 2012-11-26 16:06

    The camera infrastructure should be destroyed and burned, just hand over to Cusato members, no problem, and problem solved

  • david.k.boshielo - 2012-11-26 16:11

    what is there to review the Gauteng e-tolling project? was there any detailed and inclusive project consultation? where is the people first motto that was punted? where is a "clear conscious" when the majority say no? where is the person that God created in HIS image,

  • zemarais - 2012-11-26 23:17

    I have been asking meany times where can I give in my opinion on the e-tol and on all the places I asked no one answer me many people on my fb also wanted to know,I even went on Google and tried to find out and still I dont know where to give in my opinion, so this is how things work in SA, you may give your opinion but we are not going to tell you were to sent it.....

      al.pal.106 - 2012-11-27 12:30

      @ Zemarais, not sure where you have been looking but these two links will help.

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