President Jacob Zuma has insulted South Africans by signing the e-tolling bill into law on the day the matter was before the Supreme Court of Appeal, the DA said on Wednesday.
Zuma’s signing the bill into law was “premature and disrespectful of the judicial process,” Democratic Alliance transport spokesman Ian Ollis said in a statement.
“[The] president has had the bill under revision since May 2013 and could have waited for the [Supreme Court of Appeal’s] ruling on the matter,” Ollis said.
“It must be viewed as nothing more than a clear message to the country that he does not care about the wishes of the people of Gauteng.”
Zuma signed into law the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill — paving the way for e-tolling.
“The president… has, in terms of Section 84 (2) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, signed the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill into law,” said spokesman Mac Maharaj.
“In effect, the act will provide more effectively for the collection of toll; to amend the Cross-Border Road Transport Act, 1998 (Act No 4 of 1998), to empower the Cross-Border Road Transport Agency to collect toll on behalf of Sanral….”
The law in effect gives the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) the nod to put into effect e-tolling on Gauteng’s freeways.
On Wednesday, Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Fritz Brand reserved judgment on whether the e-tolling of Gauteng’s freeways should be reviewed.
The appeal was brought by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) in its legal challenge against Sanral, the transport minister and the National Treasury.
Outa is a group of business associations and individuals, and was formed in March 2012 to challenge Sanral’s decision to implement e-tolling of Gauteng’s recently upgraded freeway network. It felt the decision was irrational, unreasonable, and illegal.