AfriForum e-toll application dismissed

2012-04-25 17:17

kalahari.com

Pretoria - AfriForum's application to be admitted as a friend of the court in an action against e-tolling was dismissed by the North Gauteng High Court on Wednesday.

Judge Bill Prinsloo said a tariff publication on April 13, which AfriForum was attacking, was not before him.

It was part of the supplementary affidavit dealing with the amendment to tariff exemptions, filed by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa), which he struck from the court roll on Tuesday.

Prinsloo said the application was launched at a very late stage and was being opposed by the respondents, who include the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) and the Treasury.

It was inappropriate for a friend of the court to introduce new contentions based on fresh evidence, he said.

Taking sides

Earlier, Sanral's lawyer Bruce Leech said he took issue with the fact that AfriForum was aligning itself with Outa in opposing the tolling system.

He said a friend of the court had to assist the court, and not take sides.

"AfriForum is presenting new evidence. It's inviting argument issues that are not before the court."

AfriForum lawyer Greta Engelbrecht said the lobby group should be given the chance to make submissions that were relevant and useful.

"It must be something novel... not what the applicants have already said. AfriForum can do this as it draws attention to the publication of tariffs," she said.

AfriForum was asking the court to consider whether the publication of the e-toll tariffs on April 13 complied with Section 27 of the SA National Roads Agency Limited Act.

Irrelevant to the case

It wanted the court to look at whether the classification of vehicles was warranted.

Leech said none of the respondents had addressed this issue in their affidavits submitted to the court.

"They [AfriForum] must not be admitted because they can't assist on the issues presently in front of the court. She [Engelbrecht] wants to expand the scope of the issues with something new."

Leech said AfriForum's argument was irrelevant to the case.

Engelbrecht said AfriForum had been concerned about e-tolling from the outset.

"AfriForum has 36 000 members, of which 45% reside in Gauteng and are liable to use the roads," she said.

National Treasury's lawyer Jeremy Gauntlett agreed with Sanral. Both asked the judge to dismiss AfriForum's application and award costs. Prinsloo said costs would not be awarded.

Next, he was to hear arguments on the merit of Outa's case to have e-tolling scrapped.
- SAPA

Read more on:    afriforum  |  sanral  |  johannesburg  |  tolls  |  transport
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