E-tolls phase 2 is coming, DA warns

The Democratic Alliance has warned that The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) intends to put up more gantries and extend e-tolling even further in the second phase.

DA Premier Candidate for Gauteng, Mmusi Maimane, on Tuesday (19 November) outlined his plan to fight e-tolling in Gauteng as part of an election campaign ahead of the 2014 elections.

“We will continue to fight against this system at every turn,” Maimane said.

Last week, the DA submitted papers to the High Court for a new challenge that, if successful, could delay the roll out of e-tolls on Gauteng’s freeways.

The DA is of the view that the “e-tolling” Bill was incorrectly passed by Parliament and signed into law by President Jacob Zuma. The party believes that it was incorrectly tagged and should be declared unconstitutional.

Maimane stressed that the provincial government is a platform to fight e-tolling. “The final decision on whether to toll roads may rest with the ANC-led national government. But the provincial government can and must fight for the best interests of the people of Gauteng.”

“Sanral’s decision to start e-tolling, has been supported by two consecutive Premiers, including current Gauteng Premier, Nomvula Mokonyane. A Premier is required by law to state his or her position on these projects on behalf of the people of their respective provinces. The ANC government in Gauteng said yes to e-tolls. They betrayed the people,” the DA lead said.

“The public must know the gantries we see on our highways are only phase one of the e-tolling project. Sanral intends to put up more gantries and extend e-tolling even further in the second phase.”

It is expected that at least 300km of the province’s highways will be tolled in Phase 2 of the project. “It is likely that this will be pushed through in the same manner as the existing phase; without proper consultation and at great expense,” Maimane said.

The DA said its plan would be to return the power to the people of Gauteng.

Maimane said his plan against e-tolling will have 3 steps:

  • A province-wide referendum to give the people of Gauteng a voice against e-tolling. A DA-led government will declare a referendum in Gauteng so that all residents can vote either “yes” or “no” to the further rollout of e-tolling.

“Public comment and opposition to the system has clearly been ignored. I believe that the people of this province deserve a say in this system and in their future. I will take the mandate of the people from this referendum and use it in my submission to national government on the further rollout of e-tolling.”

  • An Interdict of any further roll-out of e-tolling in Gauteng.

“If the national government ignores the public’s opposition to e-tolling and continues with phase 2 of the project, a DA-led provincial government will move to obtain a court interdict to stop the further rollout of e-tolling,” Maimane said.

The DA noted that interdicts have already proved successful in stopping the roll-out of e-tolling system where it governs in the Western Cape pending a review of the system.

  • An Inter-governmental dispute in terms of Section 41 of the Constitution and the 2005 Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act.

“A further option available to us is to use the constitutional mechanism of an Inter-governmental Dispute to enter into mediation with the national government,” Maimane said.

“This allows for the settlement of disputes between provincial and national government and would provide an opportunity for a DA-led government to dispute e-tolling with relevant parties in the national sphere.”

E-toll law

Zuma signed the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill into law towards the end of September, enabling the e-tolling of Gauteng’s freeways through the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).

Last month (October), the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) in its e-toll challenge against the SA National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral).

Government aims to implement e-tolling for Gauteng roads before December.

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E-tolls phase 2 is coming, DA warns