Costs not enough to halt e-toll project

2012-08-15 15:32

Johannesburg - The costs of collection for e-tolling should not have been examined without considering the cost of the entire project, the Constitutional Court heard on Wednesday.

David Unterhalter SC, for the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral), told the court the interdict was granted based on the costs of a fraction of the project, and not the entire thing.

"You cannot take a general policy framework and allow it to [be] subordinated to a single economic ratio," he said.

"It is impossible to fairly assess the costs for collection against all the other costs of the project."

He said all the different funding models had been examined, and he quoted various reports that found e-tolling to be the most "desirable" one.

It was found that a fuel-levy would not be able to guarantee a steady flow of money into the project.

Unterhalter said the rate of non-compliance was not a proper reason for a review of the project.

"There will be some measure of deviance... [but] it is a criminal offence to use a road and not pay for it," he said.

"This is not a proper ground for attacking [the e-toll system]... Ask if this is a system that is lawful - and it is," he said.

Unterhalter said there were measures to manage deviance, and those who did not comply would face criminal sanctions. However, if people argued that they did not use the road, they could have a defence.

He said it was not necessary to prosecute every single person, but to merely make an example to encourage compliance.

He admitted that there were mistakes and faults, but the system was ready to begin for income to be generated.

He also questioned why the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) had not make its submissions in 2008 when the project was being finalised. He called Outa's case "palpably weak".

"We submit that the delay is a fundamental obstacle," he said.

Unterhalter argued that the high court had not shown restraint in its judgment, and that there was a "threshold" that needed to be crossed before a court could intervene on a policy matter.

Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke said courts needed to tread carefully on policy matters, but that nothing was beyond review since it was a constitutional right.

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  • allonaa - 2012-08-15 15:44

    Please build your own new roads then "toll" those. The sin here is asking us to pay to use roads that have already paid for themselves. Don't tell me about the "upgrade" that you have done because there was money for that already but unfortunately we all know what happened to that money....

      Rudolf - 2012-08-15 16:00


      rbphiri - 2012-08-15 16:07

      The is two unwanted rubbish in SA! and that is SCUMral and the butthole of society the ANC! People if you want physical change in this country vote with your minds and not kfc cholesterol infested hearts. The ruling party doesn't care about you, did they bother to consult you when they first concocted this financial molestation scheme known as the E-toll? no! that's because they don't care about you!!! If you keep on voting for the same rubbish you will keep on living in the same dump site! I see people struggling to make ends meet on a day to day basis and these are they very same people who vote anc and receive nothing but equivocations and poor service delivery...wake the hell up people the anc are self service bureaucrats!

      mariana.barry - 2012-08-15 16:10

      ya, any sign of finally upgrading the terible state of our roads and they want to toll it ?? Have anyone seen the state of our Lowveld tourist roads? Lydenburgh? No proper resurfacing since 1994 - maintanance became a swearword.

      etienne.odendaal.1 - 2012-08-15 16:11

      Its just odd how they can build a new town "Zumaville" for R2bn but "upgrading" existing highways in Gauteng cost R20bn. Then a person also has to wonder why in Edenvale they had to widen the bridge for 4 lanes just to make one entire lane a yellow line as there isn't enough space for the highway on ramp if they have 4 lanes going over the bridge.

      claudia.meads - 2012-08-15 16:28

      The puerile legal minds employed by the state has yet to comprehend that SA is a CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY - the LAW is the highest authority - finish and klaar... What the ANC cannot grasp (and likely never will) - tax is handed to the government in good faith - the onus remains unconditionally with the tax-payer/s to decide if his/her money is being used appropriately. The state is NOT a feudalistic kingdom - all public servants (ie ALL who receive an income from tax - directly- and indirectly) are in service of the tax-paying public. SA's key problem is that those who pay bona fide tax are not represented in government. South Africans must stand up to the reality: NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION.

      arthur.hugh - 2012-08-15 16:51

      Exactly my sentiments Aloha - well stated. Whether SANRAL likes it ot not, we have the power to boycott it and thereby bankrupt them anyway. Either way, they lose.

      rontheogre - 2012-08-15 17:01

      What really ticks me off is that the upgrade to 187km of existing roads cost R20 Billion, and the budget for infrastructure, including new roads, upgrades and maintenance for the rest of the COUNTRY for the same period was just over R9 Billion, these figures according to the National Roads Agency website. Now this idiot Unterhalter openly in court admits that they will discriminate against some in policing their crappy scheme. With stupid people like this in charge it is no wonder that this whole scheme is a failure.

      konstabel.koekemoer - 2012-08-16 12:36

      I cannot believe that government is still trying to push though this totally uneconomical and unfair tolling system. Why do they not accept that it was a stupid idea and find alternate solutions. Very little of the toll money will go towards the servicing of debt as most of it will be used to try and administer the disaster of a system. I would bet that in the first couple of years they fees collected will not even cover these expenses as the so called non-compliance will be huge and cost SANRAL and authorities a fortune. But I guess there is a lot of tenderpreneurs waiting for their cut. Just another of many ANC disasters.

  • jennifer.d.martin.750 - 2012-08-15 15:45

    It seems like ANC fellas have run out of cash and are looking for some spending money - quick and easy. People already paid for the road with taxes. You lot are destroying your apple tree to get at apples. You don't care though do you.

  • eugene.meyer1980 - 2012-08-15 15:47

    "not necessary to prosecute every single person, but to merely make an example to encourage compliance"... TAKE YOUR STUPID E-TOLL AND STUFF IT WHERE THE SUN DOES NOT SHINE. Comply to that SANRAL.

  • iain.vanderwalt - 2012-08-15 15:47

    "He said it was not necessary to prosecute every single person, but to merely make an example to encourage compliance." So we are now going to use scare tactics, can the people who get 'made an example of' sue for unfair discrimination based on the fact that they are obviously not being treated equally or everyone not complying would face criminal prosecution. A transcript of this individual's statement could attest to that fact.

      jennifer.d.martin.750 - 2012-08-15 15:49

      a clause to allow taxis to not have to pay...?

      james.m.wood.773 - 2012-08-15 16:20

      @jemifer, the taxis have already been given that concession, they won't have to pay, thats why they weren't incolved in the disputes and court cases

      jennifer.d.martin.750 - 2012-08-15 16:23


  • chad.d.tugwell - 2012-08-15 15:49

    I'm not paying so sort your own problems out and stop bothering me.

  • kenneth.roselt - 2012-08-15 15:49

    i simply will not pay, will not regsiter either. let pick n pay do the honorable thing and tell us on the price tags what percetage we ar epaying toward e-toll, so that the people who don't have a car see how much they are paying for using the highways too.

  • denis.dendrinos - 2012-08-15 15:52

    Excuse me? "There will be some measure of deviance... [but] it is a criminal offence to use a road and not pay for it," Is this not what I pay taxes for? Is this not the reason fuel is already taxed? Do I not already pay dearly for expensive goods in shops of which part of the price are transport costs. Pretty sure it's also a criminal offence to have R5 billion in tax money just vanish without a trace... - 2012-08-15 16:12

      Agree 100%

      qungisbindi.mafendana - 2012-08-16 09:02

      Makes you wonder how their moronic minds work. It's impossible to do that, the mere fact that you own a vehicle you've already paid for the road. The tax you pay when purchasing it, the licencing, fuel, etc. So they just confessed that they don't know that, so are they the right people in those seats?

  • jack.kukard - 2012-08-15 15:55

    Its funny how we used perfect normal roads without potholes pre 94 with no toll roads , and there was still enough money for water , sanitation , health care and schooling , you lot of CancEr are a joke....

      armand.horn.58 - 2012-08-15 16:16

      Yes, but then the councilors and politicians didn't drive a new BMW every year.

      ewan.doyle.7 - 2012-08-15 16:49

      However, Wacko, you forget that the roads were 'perfect' (as you put it) pre 1994 in the "White areas" mainly!? You never visited the old townships or homelands did you!? You never experienced those 'dirt-tracks' did you?

      derekneilmaclachlan - 2012-08-16 01:51

      Got news for you ewan.doyle.....those tracks are still tracks...only now so are the highways also full of 94 somethings gone horribly wrong would seem...

  • andre.mostert - 2012-08-15 15:56

    Dude I will not pay!! get it in your head. Take the money from Zuma Ville or he's jet.. - 2012-08-15 16:11

      I agree!

      larry.piggott1 - 2012-08-15 17:25

      And I will never pay for the use of these roads. I hope that there are a lot of people who feel the same.

  • ronnie.duplessis.7 - 2012-08-15 15:56

    It is a criminal offence to take an existing road and turn it into a toll road !!!!!!

  • alu.ntsandeni - 2012-08-15 16:00

    Let me get this straight, we have this so called huge debt for the roads which seems to be a national crisis.. at the same time our president is worried about building his own fantasy village #Zumaville

      rodney.overes - 2012-08-15 17:27

      And buying new planes

  • flysouth - 2012-08-15 16:00

    We, the motorists of this country, including those not in Gauteng (or your turn to be shafted will come!) must prepare to take whatever action is needed to stop this action by government - there will not be tolls, they cannot stand, we will never tolerate this robbery by the state, irrespective of the outcome of legal cases. Together we will make the entire system totally unworkable.

      rob.gunning.1 - 2012-08-15 16:02

      No you won't. You'll end up accepting it like you do everything else.

      joe.irwin.50 - 2012-08-15 16:13

      Too true Rob. The sheep will fall into line as normal. Without the support of the unacceptable actions that are displayed by the union members of this country, nothing will scare off the thieves in this government.

      IcemanGP - 2012-08-15 16:55

      Sad, but true Rob

  • mariana.barry - 2012-08-15 16:05

    CRIMINAL OFFENCE!?!?!?! I DO PAY!! I PAY MY TAX - I AM ENTITLED TO USE THE ROAD! Further government has included levies into our fuel. Is e-tolling fair if the government allocate all our taxes to their gravy train? Money is demanded to easily, and proper management neglected.

  • africanwolf - 2012-08-15 16:09

    There is enough money in the budget for the roads the problem is that is given away in a form of grants to people who sit @ home,eat it up, and produce children for votes.

  • ross.paitaki - 2012-08-15 16:09

    this is the first time i have seen no "thumbs down" on the comments( as off 4:11pm 15/08/2012). We finally all agree on something as a nation.

      KeenanMag - 2012-08-15 16:25

      haha! I was thinking the same thing. The thumbs-downers are probably in Cape Town trying to make the DA's city "ungovernable." Wait til tomorrow.

  • chiepner - 2012-08-15 16:10

    why dont we just get told already what politically connected will benifit from this entire project or did benifit? Zuma buy's over priced plane means millions will go into his pockets.....Zuma's presedential residance gets overhaul worth millions - means more diverted to his pocket and HELLO E-TOLL let wonder who is those who gets millions diverted into their pockets - it so frikkin obvious!

  • - 2012-08-15 16:10

    Unterhalter, you and your business-buddies are a joke! I will Not pay!! We pay far too much just to survive in this country!

  • rehan.pretorius - 2012-08-15 16:13

    To the fat cats at SANRAL....pull your bottom lips over your heads...and swallow!!!

  • KeenanMag - 2012-08-15 16:13

    Can SANRAL just go sleep now? Kthanksbye.

  • jason.rom.9 - 2012-08-15 16:14

    r u cooked its against the law to screw us

  • james.m.wood.773 - 2012-08-15 16:17

    saying they only need to make an example by charging only a few won't work because then the question will arise in court why only some and not all, you can not prosecute only a few.

  • johan.fb - 2012-08-15 16:18

    "[but] it is a criminal offence to use a road and not pay for it," I'm sorry but I'm confused. I was under the impression that we pay taxes every year? I know the majority of those taxes go to lining corrupt government official pockets, but i thought some of it was put aside for infrastructure maintenance and development? Being charged twice to use a road once is the only crime here.

  • darryl.maze1 - 2012-08-15 16:20

    it is a criminal offence to use a road and not pay for it???? Then if its criminal offence why are taxi's and buses not having to pay. The taxi's are the most danderous vehicles on the road and yet they gonna be let off not paying. The the tax levy in the petrol is there for the upgrades of our roads. How's about all these government officilas, politicians and premiers get a massive reductions in there over paid salaries.

  • Teuneman - 2012-08-15 16:23

    Am I not paying for the roads I use with taxes and levies ect? The roards weren't even finished when they wanted to start tolling. The roads were sub standard, a few months after construction on certain parts was finalised, repairs had to be done already. They could have spent all that money to train cops and buy cars to patrol every on and off ramp and patrol the highway in such a manner that if you drive, whatever time of day, you see a cop. And F-up those damn taxi drivers. If that was the case I'd have been happy to pay.

  • barend.wasserman - 2012-08-15 16:34

    WAT?! Now where's my TAX money going then?! O yeah, I forgot. Your bloody parties and lavish lifestyles.... Ignorant swine....

  • Teuneman - 2012-08-15 16:34

    The government is a dirty prostitute. We give it money and its screws us in return.

  • edwin.r.stewart - 2012-08-15 16:45


  • ronnie.duplessis.7 - 2012-08-15 16:47

    Why not take the 2 billion that Zuma wants to spend on a new boeing and settle the toll road saga so that another 2 billion rand can go to waste and land up in the wrong hands.

  • J.Stephen.Whiteley - 2012-08-15 16:48

    An unforgivable gamble. Gauntlett and Unterhalter will have read Louise Flanagan's posting "Sanral might need new Cash injection" (13 June 2012). "Sanral received a R5.75 billion bailout from the budget of 2011/2012 and will need another R2.5 billion to service the interest on a debt of R3 to R4 billion and to compensate for lost revenue." The lost revenue is R270 million per month. Sanral raised R1.85 billion in bonds issued in 2011; one wonders who bought them. As a parastatal, it jeopardises funding for others - Transnet, Denel and Eskom. That a parastatal was created at all - six of its eight directors are appointed by the Minister of Transport, shows the latter wished to hide behind somebody's else's skirts. A simple increase in fuel tax was the honest route.

  • Muffin_man_can - 2012-08-15 17:04

    Second option: burn those toll gates to the ground! We cannot afford the e-tolls, what part of that don't you get you greedy bastards?

  • hendrikvs - 2012-08-15 17:12

    Clowns! What a big circus!

  • bryan.culross - 2012-08-15 17:43

    I find it sad that David Unterhalter is representing SANRAL and bsically the stealing ANC. He will no doubt say that ethically he cannot pick and choose his clients .... nevertheless, you go down in my assessment of you Mr Unterhalter ... u are, in effect, endorsing the theiving by the ANC!!!!

  • ina.cripps - 2012-08-15 18:11

    What a cheek to say we must pay to use roads that we have already paid for over and over via levies and taxes. They didn't build new roads, merely widened them somewhat. It couldn't have cost what they claim anyway!

  • Gill McCain - 2012-08-15 21:22

    Not paying unless u send me a bill - no etag for me. If no one gets a tag it is totally impossible to manage. If we all refuse to comply with their plan then it will fall away for good. Send me the bill for every trip I make - i don't care. Unless it is registered I will not pay

  • leslie.j.thorpe - 2012-08-15 22:41

    I think wer're all missing the substance of the project. I suspect that this is another "arms dealfiasco" and the truth will emerge in due course. I suspect that the service provider, some Austrian outfit, has enriched some of our government ministers (and possibly SANRAL officials) and now wants pay-back, big time. The service provider is probably shocked at the publics' reaction and didn't expect such, and is now pressurising the bribed parties to do something in the form of legislation and court action. Hence today's legal action and the high profile statements from government ministers of late. That's probably why we are now seeing legislation being swiftly promulgated which attempts to threaten the SA public with all manner of sanctions on road tolling default. Has the government even been known to move so quickly? There's a mountain of legislation which has been before parliament for years and years without resolution. So why this piece of "enforcement" so rapidly drafted and approved? Just note the names of the ministers who are "mouthing off" on road tolling. They are probably the ones who have been "financially induced" behind the scenes and are now fearfull of exposure if the road tolling project fails. Since when did so many ministers and officials concern themselves with the stae of out roads? Here we have another instance of corruption personified!!!!

  • sheralee.jones - 2012-08-16 08:27

    Nobody has ever questioned SANRAL's link to the arms deal!

  • warwick.railton.7 - 2012-08-16 10:04

    What a load of toss. sanral, you fail, you are corrupt, ill informed and are the anc.

  • leesmit1 - 2012-08-16 10:31

    Prior 1994 South African drove on the left of the road. Post '94 South African drive on whats left of the road and then they still expect us to pay for it. cANCer think again...I wont pay e-toll EVER!

  • paul.fevrier - 2012-08-16 11:12

    "Make an example of a few" to encourage compliance. So burn a few people at the stake, maybe even hang a few unfortunate souls! Sort of sounds like what the Gestapo were trying to achieve during world war two, make an example of some and eveybody will turn around and delare their undying love for uncle Adolf. It didn't work there and it's not going to work here. For even contemplating such a nonsensical notion, you sir, Mr. Unterhalter are palpably weak and certainly an idiot, along with your ANC (Gestapo) masters!

  • Snoopy Rudzani Zoom Zoom - 2013-04-21 16:29

    Its upsetting to still reading about etoll implementation on the media,that load of bull thai its fraud to drive on the road and not pay,we pay tax,vehicles discs don't try to be smart with us.I think its time we do something about this

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