News24

Brakes put on R20bn e-tolling plan

2012-04-28 14:33

Pretoria - The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria granted an urgent interdict to halt the contentious R20bn e-toll project in Gauteng on Saturday.

"People are held captive by the toll roads," said Judge Bill Prinsloo, delivering judgment on an application by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa).

"I make the following order... the first respondent [SA National Roads Agency] is interdicted and restrained from levying and collecting tolls," said the judge, to applause in the public gallery.

After being postponed five times, the e-toll project will now have to wait for the outcome of a court review, which lawyers this week warned could take up to the end of the year.

Financial suffering


Prinsloo said that while he realised the ruling would put financial strain on Sanral, it was clear that many South African citizens would suffer financial hardship if it went ahead.

"I am alive to the fact that Sanral may suffer financial losses. This could result in its business rating being downgraded," Prinsloo said.

But he read out affidavits by five South African citizens that described their hardships and how the e-toll project would affect them.

Prinsloo said he was aware that there must be thousands, if not tens of thousands, who must use the toll roads and would suffer financially as a result.

He bemoaned a lack of good alternative transport.

"The main roads are massively populated on a daily basis because there are no metropolitan or secondary roads available."

Resistance


Prinsloo said he had "carefully considered" the arguments brought by all parties in the case this week, which were made by no fewer than 19 lawyers and filled 2 500 pages.

He believed that Outa had made a prima facie case for a review of the e-toll project.

Outside court, two men protesting against the tolls were sitting on deck chairs, wearing suits.

Both were holding "newspapers" as placards, which stated: "The high price of freedom benefits who?" and "Politics of this country are like fish and chips".

Between the chairs was another poster that said: "We wouldn't kill for [President Jacob] Zuma".

The rollout of the tolls has seen resistance and protests from several quarters, including Cosatu.

No political sense


Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi this week warned, in an interview on SABC radio, that it would have "serious repercussions at a political level".

"We are quite determined to convince them it will make no political sense at this stage to proceed with such an unpopular policy," Vavi said on Thursday, shortly before he went into a meeting with the ANC on the matter.

As a result, the ANC announced that e-tolls - at that stage scheduled to start on Monday - would be delayed by another month.

This was confirmed by the transport department.

But Prinsloo said that the announcement had no bearing on his judgment.

This week, Prinsloo also heard from the National Treasury, who warned that halting the e-toll project would have "serious negative implications for future financing of roads and investment in public transport".

Not a good idea in hindsight


Deputy Transport Minister Jeremy Cronin has acknowledged that, with the benefit of hindsight, the project was not a good idea, but it was too late now to halt it.

"If we could rewind the clock, we would not have recommended this specific project," Cronin told SABC radio on Thursday.

"The problem is, of course, we have now spent R20bn on the project and the question is, how do we pay for this?

"One way or another, the public is going to have to pay for it."

However, Outa lawyer Alistair Franklin argued that the system was unreasonable as it had disproportionate costs attached to it.

"Collecting costs are exceeding the cost of improvement [of the roads]," he told the court.

Punitive rates

Sanral recently irked motorists even further when it announced that those who did not register for e-tags on the 185km of tolled highways would have to pay a higher punitive rate.

The agency cited costs associated with recovering payment, including invoicing and debt collection, as reasons for the R1.75c punitive tariff per kilometre, compared to the standard tariff of 30c per kilometre for registered users.

The judgment was widely welcomed, with both the opposition Democratic Alliance and Cosatu applauding it.

Vavi tweeted: "There is no replacement to principle and truth - congratulations!!!"

The transport department issued a short statement, saying: "We respect the decision. We will study the ruling thoroughly and decide on the next course of action."

Comments
  • JaredVN - 2012-04-28 14:42

    It gives me even greater pleasure, apart from the announcement, to think of the likes of Clem Sunter and other sell-outs who went and bought e-tags, in the face of huge public opposition. Not that R50 makes so much difference to a fat cat like Sunter, but I am enjoying the thought that the sell-outs have probably wasted their money. Poetic justice hits the sell-outs and Judases!

      Scouter - 2012-04-28 14:56

      Not to mention having handed over details of their bank accounts - very foolish. If it were me, I would be changing bank accounts right now.

      Zengfuey - 2012-04-28 15:38

      And they will probably have to pay the monthly etag admin fee, because they registered and entered into a binding contract, before everything got sorted out

      Scouter - 2012-04-28 16:02

      PS - I should think that the lady from Lynnwood has more chance of flying to the moon backwards on a bicycle than recovering her R2,460. Same goes for anybody else who was stupid enough to sign on the dotted line(otherwise known as a contract). Good luck.

      Theo - 2012-04-28 21:19

      This e_tolling saga and many other taxes would never have been nessesary if there was no corruption in this country. If u look at reports by the Auditor General and many other investigations many Billions of rands have been lost due to corruption and mal-administration. That lost money could have easily paid for most of this. So scrapping the e-tolls is no guarentee that the government wont come up with other sick ideas to grab more money. Unless we have a realy competent government and leaders this cycle will never stop. We as the peoples of this country could stand together and stop e-tolling, so why cant we do the same with all the other failures. Forget about race, this is our country, black, white, pink, yellow,green, brown. DO it in the same manner as we all did now with e-tolling, without violence and destruction and change will be guarenteed.Make your vote and voice count!!

  • kev47 - 2012-04-28 14:44

    Happy days! Well done OUTA, and thanks.

      Sedick - 2012-04-28 15:37

      E-Tolls are OUTA here......

  • Sharon - 2012-04-28 14:45

    I love the title, can also say that E-Tolling has come to a screeching halt, or that the wheels fell off!

  • Ian - 2012-04-28 14:47

    if the gov cannot run the municipal accounts effiently how on earth are they going to run the toll - they are already charging motorist!

  • Sechaba - 2012-04-28 14:49

    I can't wait to hear ANC trying to score some points and tell us that they were also against e-tolling because they care about the poor.

      Oscar - 2012-04-28 15:49

      The AfricanNonCompoops already tried to save face with this so called Cosatu one month delay that was negotiated. They new what the outcome of this court decision was going to be. They speak with a forked tongue when playing good cop bad cop with the ministers saying one thing and the ANC saying something different.

  • luvuko - 2012-04-28 14:50

    Well done to the public for the pressure. Well done to Outa! Now watch these sanral fools close off two lanes on the highways in retaliation. SCUMBAGS!!

      khehle - 2012-04-28 19:25

      They can close their extra one lanes, on average the highways were always three lanes anyway.

  • wernervh - 2012-04-28 14:55

    AWESOME! Congratulations to everybody at OUTA, and ALL the People in Gauteng!

  • mollie.kruger - 2012-04-28 14:56

    SANRAL - eat dirt!

      thomas.robbertse - 2012-04-28 15:04

      ......putting it mildly!

  • thomas.robbertse - 2012-04-28 14:57

    I am by no means an economist, but if one were to calculate the following I'm sure that it makes no sense to proceed with the e tolling. It is estimated that 2 million cars are using the roads in question on a monthly basis at R 550 per month, this gives me more than a billion Rand! If the Gauteng economy has to foot this amount towards one single point it would be poorer of the same. It will no doubt have a huge impact on growth in the region and contribute to job losses. Apart from the R 550 per month the same (and other) people paying this will pay more for all commodities affected by these tolls. A COST SPIRAL STARTS AND EVERYTHING WILL GET OUT OF HAND.. Well done CONGRATULATIONS TO OUTA AND ALL THE NATION FOR STANDING TOGETHER IN STOPPING THIS.

  • jwdupreez - 2012-04-28 14:58

    Outa inni langpad............Ek "Like"

  • Thamsanqa - 2012-04-28 15:01

    Zuma = failled e-tolling system plus wasted R20bn. Unseat this Pimp as a president

  • Thomas - 2012-04-28 15:05

    Well done "Buffalo Bill" you sure give hope that justice prevail!!! Power to the people, I am proud that so many South Africans stood together.

  • Just_my_opinion - 2012-04-28 15:07

    Sorry for those that bought an Etag! They were told NOT to register - the poor fools!!

  • Rodney - 2012-04-28 15:10

    nw is time 2 see weakest zuma administration playing the people that put them in 2 power. Our vote has counted. Lets the eyes be open enough wen we go to vote. Thanks 4 stoping e-tolling. Viva...!

  • nsinovich - 2012-04-28 15:14

    R20 billion - why must the public pay for that necessarily when much of it could possibly be recovered for paying exhorbitantly inflated invoices because the goal was to fleece the public in the first place.

      Sepaka C-Parker Mo'Africa Ngwane - 2012-04-28 15:51

      I understand your concern and I 100% agree with you - but who do you think is worth that much in South African government? Let's just hope that the outcome of the court would be in favor of the people.

      Marina - 2012-04-29 09:14

      Isn't it ironic that they are concerned about the R20billion loss in revenue, when the theft at government level far exceeds this. How much deeper in the s!*t does this country have to get into before sanity prevails? On the positive side, we have all stood together as a nation. This must be one of the few articles, where race and religion hasn't been brought into it. It just shows that we can live together in harmonyt.

  • melt.olckers - 2012-04-28 15:16

    There must be a full investigation on how this tenders was awarded. If found that this tenders was awarded in an irregular manner, the recipients must foot the bill. If they are stupid enough to bribe than they must pay the costs.

  • Lwazi Sibiya - 2012-04-28 15:17

    So there is justice after all, well done mr prinsloo

  • Mark - 2012-04-28 15:18

    The SANRAL gravy train has run out of steam. Lets wait and see which fat cats were to gain from the theft of money from the public. There is a lot of blaming and mud slinging to come from the fat cats who thought they had hit the jackpot.

  • Lazarus - 2012-04-28 15:21

    Where are those law abiding tagged citizens?They were better off donating that money for charity.Poor stupid idiotic mamparatic morons!!!Se!!!

  • Dawn - 2012-04-28 15:21

    Hip hip hooray Judge Prinsloo has made my day He's buried the toll In a rather big hole Now we may not need to pay!

  • Malavi - 2012-04-28 15:21

    Good for u if u bought the e-tag...hahaha, every time u pass these gumtrees u will be reminded how smart u r:)

      frank.mncube - 2012-04-28 15:44

      I couldnt hve said it better myself. Good comment

      Judy - 2012-04-29 13:50

      Lol: "Gumtrees"

  • rasthami.m1 - 2012-04-28 15:25

    We welcome this ruling of halting the e tolling it would have been devastating if it had went through,but its funny how some party will use the spot light as their own taking this as their own achievement and take the platform utilize it to slam the ruling party #cheap politics

      Marina - 2012-04-29 09:18

      Damn. I spoke too soon.

  • Renè Mc Clain - 2012-04-28 15:26

    i wish izinyoka could steal the cables and cameras

      Sepaka C-Parker Mo'Africa Ngwane - 2012-04-28 15:43

      I agree with you Renè. It's times like this when we start realizing that there is good in crime if its intentions is not to hurt but to help.

  • kamal.naran - 2012-04-28 15:26

    the people have spoken!!!

  • david.lebethe - 2012-04-28 15:36

    The judgment must have left the government red-faced. This is one of judgments which will be referred to in a call for judicial review. Zuma and his legal advisors regard such pronouncement as "interference of excutive decision" by judiary.

  • Malcolm - 2012-04-28 15:36

    The Goverment cries over the fact that they have spent money on the E-Toll and they need to get that money back. However when the Public cries about not being able to afford e-toll, they are not interested. In this countries history we have had only 1 Human Goverment (under Mandela)the Nats were horrid people as is the current goverment. When will get to a stage when we can all vote for someone who is just, fair and cares about the well being of every citazen before themselves? Instead of voting, based on skin colour.

  • Zengfuey - 2012-04-28 15:37

    Judge Bill is right - 49 Gantries - Since i am living inside the ring, I am held prisoner by 20 of these gantries.

  • leonard.w.gray - 2012-04-28 15:46

    sell outs are an embarrassment to his country and deserve their accounts been debited tremendously by the pigs called sanral

  • Daniel - 2012-04-28 15:48

    Let's give malawi a loan but make sa citizens pay off the toll roads. Good mentalita that. Vote ANC cause they care

  • Grant - 2012-04-28 15:48

    Judgement of the century- Give the Judge a Bells!!!!!

  • Rhyno - 2012-04-28 15:49

    This will take much longer than the end of the year to resolve. I bet that other issues will arise from the Court review, which will prompt another delay, and possible scrapping. Pop goes SANRAL, who will most definitely face some sort of "re-structuring" at executive management level. Now to stop these losses from spilling to the public via fuel levies and taxes.

  • Jean - 2012-04-28 15:59

    Iam regreting the day ma father told me that ANC is for all South Africans, no, I can see it now, HE LIED, this is day robbery, what on earth wrong with our leaders? From today till the end of ma life, I will never ever vote these bunch of thieves! ;> I hate u greedy warnkers, to hell with you ANC, eish, guys am sorry bt i cnt help ma self....!!!!!

      Thokozane - 2012-04-28 16:36

      Petrol going up etoll in place the hell life is becoming expensive in S.A scrap etoll. Dankie judge!

  • Jean - 2012-04-28 16:00

    Iam regreting the day ma father told me that ANC is for all South Africans, no, I can see it now, HE LIED, this is day robbery, what on earth wrong with our leaders? From today till the end of ma life, I will never ever vote these bunch of thieves! ;> I hate u greedy warnkers, to hell with you ANC, eish, guys am sorry bt i cnt help ma self....!!!!!

  • Louis - 2012-04-28 16:03

    Great news and wonderful to see that South Africans actually stood together for a change...just sad how all other issues are immediately about race...why can't we always stand together and achieve our goals!?

  • Mark - 2012-04-28 16:10

    Scamral got a slow-puncture. No spare. Who cares.

  • Ben - 2012-04-28 16:17

    Hopefully SANRAL will now call together an action task team to find more sound methods of payment - and consult and about and communicate these!

      monkinsane - 2012-05-02 16:45

      More sound methods of payment? What happened to the Fuel Levy Tax money? Is that not supposed to go towards road improvements? DEATH TO SANRAL!

  • charliccc - 2012-04-28 16:21

    Thank you OUTA, and to everyone who said NO to these E tolls.

  • Sipho - 2012-04-28 16:22

    I think it's time our government listened to the people of Gauteng regarding the e-tolls. My feeling is that since this government came to power it has done a lot for the people of this country. But with the introduction of e-tolls, the government is reversing everything it has done to help the poor.

      monkinsane - 2012-05-02 16:46

      and what exactly has any president after Nelson Mandela done for the country? Name one thing?

  • grant.boonzaier - 2012-04-28 16:23

    the biggest fall out to this is the following statement, which is a complete f# up. we as the general public will still ultimately pay for this dead donkey! "The problem is, of course, we have now spent R20bn on the project and the question is, how do we pay for this? "One way or another, the public is going to have to pay for it."

      flysouth - 2012-04-28 17:35

      Since the govt. holds all the taxation powers necessary I am sure you are right - we are going to pay for it in the end. But once we hear how they intend to raise the money, then we may have another fight on our hands. Unless of course, the ANC agrees to immediately purge itself of all corrupt apparatchiks (that is almost everyone!) which would save R40 billion per annum in stolen, wasted and misappropriated funds! That could easily pay the entire bill. Oh dear, pigs might fly! Logically therefore it is essential to remove the ANC from government, replacing it with a government which actually gives a damn about integrity and accountability. Vote early and often!

  • Linda - 2012-04-28 16:36

    I see the down thumb Troll is very quiet on this article. To the thumbs up Guys keep up the Good work a united South Africa is what we are all looking for.

  • Alan - 2012-04-28 16:37

    And this was just Gauteners boycotting, wait until the Government tries to screw money out the public Country wide !!!!! Well done to OUTA and all us Gauteners of all races - WELL DONE Viva Gautengers !!!!! Alan Ingram

  • basil.good - 2012-04-28 17:12

    Now watch them reduce the toll fees even more just to try & sneak it in because as soon as they get the public to accept it then you will only see how quickly it goes up. They think we all silly fools

  • Serame - 2012-04-28 17:21

    These are the true fruits of democracy..citizens can safely approach the courts if they feel that any of theri rights are being violated..I luv South Africa..Now lets wait and see what tactic is Sanral going pursue once they've studied the judgement..Im sure they 'll have a plan of action to appeal..but as for me..Im super happy dat i will not be paying the radiculous tariff as it stands...for once the south african community from all races and walks of life spoke with one voice and unity .VIVA democracy..

  • Chimane - 2012-04-28 18:07

    Those that bought the Etag should be billed from the 30th, they stand up against them hence they were in support of them. so its only fair that they should get what they wanted and payup.

      Keith - 2012-04-29 05:36

      The whole R20 billion (plus)?

  • Ric - 2012-04-28 18:09

    we are all very happy about etolling scrapped.....but we seem to forget the 28 cents petrol price increase....which zuma most probably allready promised to his sanral buddies:-(

  • Theo - 2012-04-28 21:21

    This e_tolling saga and many other taxes would never have been nessesary if there was no corruption in this country. If u look at reports by the Auditor General and many other investigations many Billions of rands have been lost due to corruption and mal-administration. That lost money could have easily paid for most of this. So scrapping the e-tolls is no guarentee that the government wont come up with other sick ideas to grab more money. Unless we have a realy competent government and leaders this cycle will never stop. We as the peoples of this country could stand together and stop e-tolling, so why cant we do the same with all the other failures. Forget about race, this is our country, black, white, pink, yellow,green, brown. DO it in the same manner as we all did now with e-tolling, without violence and destruction and change will be guarenteed.Make your vote and voice count!!

  • Gerrit - 2012-04-29 10:03

    Hopefully the sell of and secretly awarded contracts to off-shore companies are also made public knowledge now.

  • phillip.havenga - 2012-04-29 10:56

    In hindsight it was not a good idea, are the people in charge of the roads complete f###ing idiots? Anybody with a half a brain could've seen that this was not a good idea.

  • diyanah.bapoo - 2012-04-29 13:29

    Why could our oh so \clever\ decision makers of this country not make R200 billion debt to feed the poor? Or build decent homes for the underprivileged? The high rollers who runs this country loves to see us being sucked dry! There are so many other needs in this country that could've been met with that amount of money like investing in the people of South Africa but clearly making more money out THE PEOPLE is more important to them than upskilling its people! South Africa is not their land for them to run it as they wish, we \The People\ of this country keeps it alive, if there's no \US\ there's NO South Africa. This should be a valuable lesson for the educated idiot who decided on e-tolls,\this country does not belong to you\!!!

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