Tolls fight not over: DA

By Drum Digital
07 November 2013

A high court application to fight the constitutionality of the e-toll bill signed by President Jacob Zuma.

A new attack is to be launched on e-tolling by focusing on the way enabling legislation was tagged, the Democratic Alliance said on Thursday.

It said it would bring a high court application to fight the constitutionality of the e-toll bill signed by President Jacob Zuma in September.

"We believe that the incorrect tagging of the e-toll bill effectively prevented the provincial legislature from deliberating on the e-toll bill on behalf of the affected people," spokesman Mmusi Maimane said.

"The tagging of the bill influences how exactly it was followed through the legal processes and we feel at the moment that we have a very strong case to put forward."

The DA contends that the Constitution makes a distinction between bills that affect national and provincial government.

Maimane said the bill was incorrectly tagged as a national competency that should be dealt with exclusively at a national level by Parliament.

The Freedom Front Plus also announced its bid to declare the e-toll bill unconstitutional.

Spokesman Anton Alberts said the party, agricultural union TAU SA, and the National Taxpayers' Association would launch an application in the High Court in Pretoria on Friday.

He said the bill was classified incorrectly and they would launch the application as a separate association, the Toll Gate Action Group.

"Various lawyers, apart from the association's own legal team, have indicated that the application has a very good chance of success," he said in a statement.

"A further explanation for possible success is the information that the president's own legal team had provided him with legal advice that the e-toll act was classified incorrectly."

Alberts said if the application was successful, e-tolling would most probably be postponed to the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015 because of the national elections next year and the fact that a new Parliament would have to be constituted.

Both parties argue that e-tolling would affect the competency of provincial government and municipalities by affecting urban planning, public transport, and traffic regulations.

The bill should have been dealt with by the National Assembly, National Council of Provinces, and Gauteng provincial legislature, Maimane said.

The DA had done enough of a study to understand that it had a strong case and should explore every legal option to halt e-tolling.

The Gauteng legislature should have been given an opportunity to vote on the bill, he said.

Maimane said he had not heard an argument for the legitimate implementation of e-tolling, so the fight against the system in Gauteng was not over.

On September 25, Zuma signed into law the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill, giving the go-ahead for e-tolling in Gauteng.

A legal challenge to e-tolling by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Appeal on October 9.

Outa announced on October 18 that it did not have enough money to continue the legal fight against e-tolling. Outa's argument remained that the SA National Roads Agency Limited and government did not conduct a proper public participation process.

Maimane said the DA's application differed from Outa's because it was about the tagging of the bill.

Alberts said though there were similarities in the two applications there were also a few differences.

"We need to look at the basis of the application, but the court system could put the cases together because it deals with the same matter and has similarities," he said.

"We [the FF Plus and DA] will definitely cross paths in that regard and as the Freedom Front Plus we will work with anyone else that is attacking the e-toll system to have it scrapped."

Maimane said the DA was not aware of the bid and had no alliance with the FF Plus or the Congress of SA Trade Unions, which has protest marches planned.

-by Sapa

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