Chamber welcomes court decision on Winelands toll roads | Fin24
 
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Chamber welcomes court decision on Winelands toll roads

Feb 13 2017 19:30

Cape Town - The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry has welcomed the Constitutional Court judgment that puts an end to plans of the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) to build the N1 and N2 Winelands toll roads within the municipal area of Cape Town.

“When the plans were first announced, there were widespread objections from the chamber, the City Council, the Province and other credible organisations, but these were simply ignored,” said Janine Myburgh, president of the chamber.

“When a new public participation process begins, Sanral will find that it has to deal with a well-informed public thanks to the work done by the City Council and organisations like the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa). We now have benchmark figures for road construction costs and we have seen how tolling facilities simply add to the cost of road building. There is no longer a way for Sanral to ride roughshod over public opinion,” said Myburgh.

"A new public participation process would also expose Sanral to questions on its business model and why it continued to charge ever-increasing toll fees on projects that have already been paid for, such as the Huguenot Tunnel."

READ: Sanral to challenge SCA toll ruling – City of Cape Town

Myburgh added that Sanral had done good work over the years and it was a pity that its "failure to understand the genuine concerns of the public had resulted in damage to its reputation".

“I hope we can look forward to a new era of co-operation and better planning. We have major road transport problems is South Africa and all the authorities will have to work together if we are to solve them,” Myburgh said. “The chamber looks forward to constructive discussions with the new management of Sanral.”

In October last year Sanral decided to appeal a Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruling in the Winelands tolling matter by approaching the Constitutional Court.

The SCA ruled in September last year that Sanral and the transport minister acted unlawfully in purporting to have the Winelands routes in the province declared toll roads. It dismissed an appeal by Sanral over the right to toll the N1 and N2 routes.

However, the SCA said it would be in breach of the separation of powers for the court to rule on whether the project ought to go ahead, and whether tolling was an appropriate means of financing it.

At the time Cape Town transport mayoral committee member Brett Herron said if it was left unopposed, Western Cape road users would have ended up paying R62bn in toll fees over a period of 30 years. About 180km of highway in the province would have been tolled if the project went ahead.

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