ConCourt grants govt appeal on tolls

2012-09-20 10:27
AfriForum has put on hold its intended legal action on the e-tolling penalty tariff for non-registered users, the lobby group says. (File, Sapa)

AfriForum has put on hold its intended legal action on the e-tolling penalty tariff for non-registered users, the lobby group says. (File, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court set aside an interim order that put on hold a plan to toll highways in Gauteng, in a judgment on Wednesday.

"The interim order granted by the high court on 28 April, 2012, is set aside," said Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke.

This was because the high court had not considered the separation of powers between the court and the executive.

The North Gauteng High Court granted the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) an interdict on April 28, ruling that a full review needed to be carried out before electronic tolling of Gauteng's highways could be put into effect.

The interdict prevented the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) from levying or collecting e-tolls pending the outcome of a judicial review.

Sanral and National Treasury appealed the court order, and said delays prevented the payment of debts incurred building gantries.

Reading the unanimous judgment, Moseneke said the separation of powers was vital to South Africa's constitutional democracy.

Courts should refrain from doing this unless they did so in a constitutional way and in exceptional circumstances.

The national executive was responsible for public resources and, "absent of fraud or corruption", had the power and prerogative to implement and finance projects, with the approval of Parliament.

"Courts are not always well-suited to make decisions of that order," said Moseneke.

Outa leader Wayne Duvenage said after the judgment: "They can't start e-tolls tomorrow. Sanral would have to put plans in place and still deal with some outstanding issues."

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