DA to fund Outa court bid

2013-06-07 11:13

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The DA will contribute the R1 million the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) needs to continue the court battle against e-tolls.

“This is in response to Outa’s public call on May 10 to assist with funding their court action,” Democratic Alliance national spokesperson Mmusi Maimane said today in a statement.

“The DA is committed to fighting urban e-tolls on major commuter highways. If the government’s e-toll levies go ahead at the end of this month, they will hit poor and middle-income South Africans the hardest.”

Maimane said a person earning R6 000 and driving a car to and from work each day would potentially have to pay more than R500 a month in toll charges, a significant portion of their income.

“E-tolls will also increase food prices and transport costs for other basic goods,” he said.

This showed government’s disregard for poor South Africans, with the DA having fought implementation of e-tolls in Parliament.

“We have also called for a referendum on e-tolls in Gauteng, because we believe that the people should be able to say for themselves whether they want e-tolls or not,” he said.

The DA fully supported Outa’s efforts to stop e-tolls, and the party believed they had a strong legal case.

Outa said it had raised more than half a million rand from public donations since yesterday morning.

Chairperson Wayne Duvenage was moved by the public’s support, stating it was fantastic.

“It’s just incredible. Words can’t describe how excited we are about the fact that society has risen to the occasion. First of all, it is a resounding mandate to take this matter to court,” he said.

“When political parties become involved, it has always been a political matter, it’s just incredible.”

He said Outa had always been behind regarding their legal fees, but now it was possible they might be able to catch up.

“This is active citizenry like I’ve never seen it before, and I’m moved.”

He said he went through Outa’s bank statement and saw small cash transactions from places such as Mamelodi and Stilfontein.

“People from across all sectors of society (are contributing). The poor contribute, even though they can’t afford it. That R50 is almost as much to them as is the R1 million from the DA. Thank you and don’t stop. We are going to court,” he said.

On Wednesday, Duvenage said Outa might have to drop its court challenge to e-tolls on Gauteng’s highways if it did not raise an extra R1 million in three weeks.

“There is a very real chance, if we do not get this money, this matter will not be heard,” he said in an appeal at the time for money at a press conference.

Outa had until June 21 to raise the money.

On Wednesday, it had so far raised R8.4 million through donations, and still owed about R3 million in legal fees. Without the R1 million payment to lawyers, the case might not go ahead, he said at the time.

Outa had received donations towards its legal fees from more than 200 businesses. Some were in the region of R100 000 – or the amount the companies would have paid in toll fees for their fleets. It had also received donations from about 7 780 individuals. These had started from around R20.

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