Alliance launches court bid to stop e-tolling

2012-03-23 13:05

A newly formed alliance of organisations has lodged an urgent court application to halt the controversial e-tolling on Gauteng freeways but will not approach Cosatu to join the lawsuit.

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) filed its application today at the North Gauteng High Court and lists as respondents Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele, SA National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral), Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi, Environmental Affairs director-general Nosipho Ngcaba and the National Consumer Commission (NCC).

Sanral, Ndebele and Vadi have been the driving forces behind e-tolling while Mamodupi Mohlala’s NCC allegedly failed to deal with consumer complaints on the contract signed by motorists and Sanral.

Outa wants the decision to roll out e-tolling to be halted pending a review application.

Outa says Cosatu has its own grounds and agenda in opposing e-tolling and will not ask the trade union federation to join it.

The alliance suggests that in the absence of tolling, the fuel price must increase by R1 per litre to fund the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).

The respondents have until Wednesday to file their notice of opposition and the matter will be heard on April 24.

Outa includes Southern African Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (Savrala), the QuadPara Association of SA (Qasa) and the SA National Consumers Union.

It says e-tolling is grossly expensive, inefficient and a waste of citizen’s money.

“It makes no sense to pay between 30% and 50% in administration and operating costs to collect the revenue for the GFIP, when existing revenue collection mechanisms will cost virtually nothing to apply,” Outa says.

Savrala’s Wayne Duvenage said e-tolling will mean motorists pay R1 to collect R2.

He suggested a referendum on e-tolling.

Duvenage said there were alternatives for the infrastructure already set up for e-tolling.

“The number plate recognition system and the gantries can be put to good use,” he said.

Outa says it is fundamentally wrong to apply an additional tax or toll against citizens along their daily commuter routes.

It says e-tolling is unfairly punitive to Gauteng citizens and that its basis, a study by the University of Cape Town, is insufficient in detail, much of it untested and its proposals have even been questioned by the authorities themselves.

Ndebele’s spokesperson, Tiyani Rikhotso, was unavailable to comment on whether Outa’s application would be opposed.

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