Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) has vowed to continue the fight against Sanral’s e-toilling system, and is mulling it options to pursue further litigation – or to leave the battle in the hands of other organisations and the public.
On Wednesday (9 October) the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) dismissed a case by Outa to get the Gauteng e-toll system pulled back for a full review.
In his ruling on the matter, Judge Fritz Brand refused Outa’s appeal, saying that “the clock cannot be turned back to when the toll roads were declared, and I think it would be contrary to the interest of justice to attempt to do so”.
Sanral and Cabinet both welcomed the ruling, while Outa expressed deep disappointment, saying that the SCA refused to consider the unlawfulness of e-tolling, rather focusing on the technical basis that there has been too long a delay in challenging the system.
“In short, the SCA has said it is too late, and has closed its eyes to the fact that e-tolling may be unlawful, ” Outa said.
Speaking on where to next for Outa’s battle against e-tolls, organization head, Wayne Duvenage said Outa has two options: take the matter to the Constitutional Court – or to drop the matter and leave it in the hands of Gauteng motorists.
“Outa could take this matter to the Constitutional Court to make a decisive ruling on the unlawfulness of e-tolling,” Duvenage said. “Outa is advised that it has solid grounds for this appeal.”
However, Duvenage pointed out that Outa would subsequently be confronted by a shortage of funds of about R3 million.
“Outa has been transparent with the public in this regard at all times, and will remain so. Despite the overwhelming contributions made by society to raise 90% of Outa’s required funds, we remain short of R1.5 million, and we have been advised that a further R1.5 million will be required to prosecute the appeal.”
“If Outa does not raise such funds, it will be unable to proceed with the appeal,” he said.
In terms of the second option, Outa would cease to continue further litigation, and “allow its case thus far to provide the grounds for a collateral challenge by one of its members or, indeed any motorist, who is prosecuted for non-payment of e-tolls,” Duveange said.
Further, Outa would continue to support the public is its opposition to Sanral and the Government’s unlawful e-tolling scheme, outside of the courts.
“Outa must now carefully consider its options and determine its next course of action. In this regard, the Outa board will meet early next week to consider its position and make decisions on the way forward,” he said.
“We wish to take this opportunity to thank the thousands of individuals and organisations who have financially supported Outa on this legal journey. The response has been remarkable,” Outa said.
“Outa’s thousands of supporters can take comfort that much has been achieved and that this effort has not been in vain. Outa’s actions have exposed many real issues and concerns related to this irrational plan to date – but, it may now be up to society itself to choose whether e-tolling will survive or not.”
This article was first published on BusinessTech.