DA politicising e-toll: SANRAL

The politicisation of tolls by the Democratic Alliance has reached the bottom of the barrel, SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) spokesman Vusi Mona said on Sunday.

“While we understand that this is the stuff of political parties when the smell of an election is in the air, the DA may want to consider what its present stance on the issue of tolling and the user-pay principle does to its credibility,” he said.

“Let’s look at history and it will show that the DA is being disingenuous and scraping the bottom of the barrel.”

Mona said it was saying “a lot about the DA credibility” to pretend that they do not embrace the user-charge principle and e-tolling after the DA introduced tolling at Chapmans Peak in Cape Town last year.

DA MP Ian Ollis said more toll roads have been proposed by Sanral at a closed meeting.

“At a [parliamentary] portfolio committee of transport strategic planning session last week, the CEO of Sanral, Nazir Alli, revealed new toll-roads that the entity is considering for implementation,” Ollis said in a statement.

“These new toll-roads are in addition to the N1-N2 Winelands toll road in the Western Cape, the N2 Wild Coast toll road in the Eastern Cape and e-tolls in Gauteng.

Ollis said the proposed new tolls roads were the: N3 Durban to Pietermaritzburg, N12 Kimberley to Johannesburg, N1 Ring road at Musina, N1 Kroonstad to Winburg, and N1 Botlokwa Interchange.

Ollis said the committee meeting was closed to the media.

However, Mona said the roads mentioned by Alli at the meeting were being considered as “potential” toll roads.

“If studies show that they are not viable and tolling is not the best way to finance them, then the potential is dead,” he said.

“We will never promote projects that are not viable. We are not building new toll roads. The only two toll roads in the pipeline are the N1-N2 Winelands and the N2 Wildcoast.”

Mona said there was a long process before a road is declared a toll road and ministerial approval as well as environmental impact assessment studies needed to be done.

It would not happen without consulting with the affected communities and conducting socio-economic impact studies, he said.

Sanral announced earlier this month that e-tolling would be implemented in Gauteng within the next two months, subject to its adoption by the National Council of Provinces.

In April last year, the High Court in Pretoria granted the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) an interdict approving a full judicial review before electronic tolling could be put into effect.

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 Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein. The SCA hearing will take place in September.

In the Western Cape, Sanral plans to appoint a concessionaire on a build, operate, and transfer basis to finance and maintain the N1-N2 Winelands toll project.

The City of Cape Town has taken legal steps to stop the project. On May 16, the Western Cape High Court will hear the city’s application to stop Sanral from taking further steps to implement the project.

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DA politicising e-toll: SANRAL