Cape Town declares dispute over toll roads
Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has declared a dispute with the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) over the tolling of "important" roads in the city.
The city said in a statement on Tuesday that a formal letter had been written to Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele to inform him that an intergovernmental dispute had been declared with Sanral over its plans to toll the N1 and N2 between the city and the Cape Winelands.
"The city is opposed to these plans and has declared the dispute in terms of the Intergovernmental Relations Framework, Act 13 of 2005 as it believes that both the Environmental Impact Assessment and Intent to Toll processes were flawed and that Sanral has not addressed the city's concerns," the statement said.
The city said the socio-economic impacts of tolling had not been adequately assessed and were not considered by the Minister of Environmental Affairs when he granted an environmental authorisation for the tolling of the N1 and N2.
Traffic to be diverted
The "broad impact" on the metropolitan road network had not been assessed and viable alternatives to tolling had not been considered.
The tolling on the N1 and N2 is likely to divert traffic onto municipal roads which will impact on the capacity, operation and maintenance required on these roads.
This will stretch the city's limited budget for road maintenance and construction as Sanral has not committed any funding to cover the increased maintenance costs, the city said.
"The city's policy on the provision of road tolls indicates that tolling should not be used as a means of funding road construction and maintenance within the city's boundaries because it is not cost effective and is inequitable," the statement said.
Mayoral committee member for transport, roads and storm water drains, Brett Herron, said the city had been left with little choice but to declare an official dispute, as all repeated attempts to engage Sanral regarding this matter had failed.
"As the authority that will be directly impacted by this proposed tolling, the city commented extensively during all the phases of both the Environmental Impact Assessment and Intent to Toll public participation process and engaged with Sanral at various intergovernmental meetings held during 2010 to raise our concerns," he said.
"We also tried to engage them on a number of occasions this year in attempts to resolve our dispute.
Sanral refused to discuss the city's concerns and indicated that they are only willing to explain their policies and strategies.
"Our letter to the minister is our last attempt at resolving this dispute before taking legal action."
Sanral was not immediately available for comment.