AA disappointed with e-tolling

By Drum Digital
15 April 2013

A decision to go ahead with e-tolling on Gauteng freeways is disappointing, the Automobile Association of SA (AA) said on Monday.

The announcement made last week amounted to a "complete disregard for the process of law", spokesman Gary Ronald said.

"[We] are disappointed that, despite the lack of finalisation of the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill by the National Council of Provinces, the government has chosen to announce that e-tolls will commence in Gauteng within the next two months," Ronald said.

"We remain committed to fighting e-tolling, not just in Gauteng, but the rest of South Africa, and we continue to urge our members to not register for e-tags yet as we still believe in an equitable solution."

Last week, the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) said it would begin e-tolling on Gauteng roads within the next two months.

"What we are now waiting for is the completion of the parliamentary process, half of which is already done," Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona said in a statement.

Mona said as soon as the National Council of Provinces finalised the bill it would go back to the National Assembly for adoption.

The bill legalises e-tolling of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project and was approved by the National Assembly on March 5.

Mona said Transport Minister Ben Martins would then announce the tariffs, followed by the necessary notice periods.

In April last year, the High Court in Pretoria granted the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) an interdict approving a full judicial review before electronic tolling could be put into effect.

The interdict prevented Sanral from levying or collecting e-tolls pending the outcome of a review. Sanral and the National Treasury appealed the court order. In September, the Constitutional Court set aside the interim order.

In December the High Court in Pretoria dismissed Outa's application to scrap e-tolling.

The court granted Outa leave on January 25 to take the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein. The SCA hearing will take place in September.

Mona advised motorists not to wait for the appeal's outcome before registering for their e-tags.

"That appeal has nothing to do with whether e-tolling should go ahead or not. That question was settled by the Constitutional Court last year when it set aside the interdict that prevented Sanral from implementing e-tolling."

-by Sapa

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