E-tolls: Outa wins round one

2012-04-25 10:32

North Gauteng High Court Judge Bill Prinsloo has ruled that the court can hear the interdict against the tolling of Gauteng highways on an urgent basis.

The ruling means that the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa), which has taken the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) to court in an attempt to halt the implementation of tolling on Monday, has won round one of its court application.

Prinsloo said the chronology of events from the day Sanral decided to toll Gauteng roads in 2008 until the final tariffs were published on April 13 2012 proved that Outa and the public were “left in the dark” about whether the roads would be tolled or not.

Lawyers representing Sanral, Transport Minister S’bu Ndebele and Treasury had argued that the matter should not be heard on an urgent basis because Outa had had more than four years to launch its court action against the tolls but only did so at the last minute.

“It is apparent that the fate of e-tolling was uncertain until February 22 (when the finance minister announced the tariffs),” said Prinsloo in his ruling.

Members of Outa and its supporters in the packed court room were visibly relieved at the outcome.

Prinsloo said he found it difficult to “criticise” Outa for going to court and waiting until the last minute to launch its court action, adding that the litigants had hoped that tolling would not go ahead, especially when further consultative meetings were held after the public outcry over the issue.

He lashed Sanral for not being forthcoming about the tariffs.

He said Outa had “fully and adequately” argued its case for the matter to be heard on an urgent basis.

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