Sanral not ready to launch e-tolling: Outa

Plans to start e-tolling in Gauteng in the next two months do not upset the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa), chairman Wayne Duvenage said on Thursday.

“[We are] not surprised or fazed by the SA National Roads Agency Limited’s (Sanral) announcement. We’ve heard it all before,” he said in a statement.

Sanral was not ready to launch, he said.

“It has been seven months since the Constitutional Court set aside the initial interdict to allow Sanral to start tolling… something they claimed they could and would do within two weeks of a ruling in their favour. We wonder what the real reasons are that this is taking them so long.”

It was wrong for Sanral to state Outa’s legal challenge to halt e-tolling was of no consequence. Duvenage said the society should not be fooled by Sanral’s claims that 78 percent of motorists would be paying less than R100 per month in toll fees.

“Averages can be very deceiving.”

A daily commuter travelling between Tshwane and Johannesburg, or the East and West Rand, would pay well over R300 per month, he said.

Duvenage said the Constitutional Court’s ruling in September 2012 was related only to the temporary interdict against e-tolling. It was outside the scope of the tolling system’s review, which would be heard in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein later this year.

In April last year, the High Court in Pretoria granted Outa an interdict approving a full judicial review before electronic tolling could be implemented. The interdict prevented Sanral from levying or collecting e-tolls pending the outcome of a review. Sanral and the National Treasury appealed the court order. In September, the Constitutional Court set aside the interim order. In December the High Court in Pretoria dismissed Outa’s application to scrap e-tolling.

On January 25 the court granted Outa leave to take the matter to the SCA. The hearing would take place in September.

“Should Sanral forge ahead regardless, the legal sword hangs over their plans and this should most certainly be of serious concern to them.”

It was estimated that fewer than 60,000 of Gauteng’s 3.5 million motorists had purchased e-tags.

“Sanral’s claim that there have been 600,000 tags signed up is misleading as we know they have given most of these to the fleet management and government fleet organisations,” Duvenage said.

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Sanral not ready to launch e-tolling: Outa