Civil rights organisation, AfriForum, donated an amount of R100 000 to the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) as a contribution towards OUTA’s legal costs in the court case against the implementation of e-tolling on Gauteng highways.
The Constitutional Court case, in which government is appealing the interdict granted by the North Gauteng High Court against the implementation of e-tolling, will be heard tomorrow (Wednesday, 15 August).
Kallie Kriel, AfriForum’s CEO, appealed to the public, companies and other civil organisations to follow the example of AfriForum by also contributing towards OUTA’s legal costs, as a successful court battle against the e-toll system would be to the benefit of all in the country.
According to Kriel, the authorities have a misconception that they can get away with the misappropriation of public money – as is the case with the exorbitantly high e-tolling collection costs – because they believe civil society does not have the resources to call government to account in court.
“Time and again contributions by the public have made it possible for AfriForum to tackle malpractices in court, and AfriForum believes the public will now also make it possible for OUTA to pursue its court battle against e-tolling to the full,” Kriel said.
Persons wishing to make a contribution towards OUTA’s legal costs can do so directly via OUTA’s website, or could donate R10 via AfriForum’s SMS line by SMSing the word “toll” to 38655.
Tomorrow’s constitutional court case is, according to Kriel, also of critical importance because government wrongly asserts that the interdict against e-tolling amounts to the court having violated government’s powers to formulate policy.
“It is important that this misconception be challenged in court. No court prescribes government policy, however, when the implementation of any policy is in contravention of the Constitution or legislation, then the courts have a clear constitutional mandate to ensure that the Constitution and legislation are complied with,” Kriel said.
Kriel pointed out that government should rather see to it that the policy it implements is not in contempt of the Constitution and legislation.
“Government is threatening the rule of law by continuously treating the courts as scapegoat for government’s disregard of the law,” Kriel added.