No funds to appeal e-toll judgement: Outa

By Drum Digital
18 October 2013

Outa is constrained by shortages of funds and will thus not appeal the Supreme Court of Appeal's dismissal of its challenge to e-tolls.

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) does not have the funds to appeal the Supreme Court of Appeal's dismissal of its challenge to e-tolls, chairman Wayne Duvenage said on Friday.

"Outa will not appeal the judgment of the Supreme Court of Appeal. Outa is constrained by shortages of funds," he told reporters in Johannesburg. "We are exhausted from a funding point of view. We still owe our lawyers R1.8 million and it will cost R1.5m to continue. We realised that we are out of money." Duvenage was addressing the media in Johannesburg after a meeting with the Outa board on Monday. He said it had met to decide the way forward, and after input from various role-players had realised it did not have the funds to continue the legal battle and should instead find other ways of fighting e-tolls.

"The SCA judgment neither addressed nor rules on the lawfulness of e-tolling as Outa's legal representatives argued that it should," said Duvenage.

"Rather, following the technical approach argued by [the SA National Roads Agency Limited] Sanral and government, based on delay, the SCA completely avoided deciding whether e-tolling was unlawful."

Duvenage said Outa's argument remained that Sanral and the government did not have a feeble public participation process.

He said Sanral and government avoided by "technicality" an enquiry by the court about why the transport minister had not consider the "exorbitant" cost the public would pay for e-tolling.

"In deciding not to appeal the SCA judgment, Outa is not abandoning bringing these and other unlawful aspects of e-tolling to a head in court," he said.

"It is only avoiding the risk of Sanral and government defeating the legal challenge to e-tolling in the Constitutional Court on a similar technical basis."

He said the public's money would be better spent in a legal process where Sanral and the government could not a decision on the lawfulness of e-tolling for technical reasons.

Outa could not do it if motorists did not come on board and join the fight, Duvenage said.

He urged motorists to not buy e-tags, and said it was not illegal to not have an e-tag.

"Outa does not have an objection. What we are concerned about is how tolling is done in this country," he said. Duvenage said tolling was forcing people to use alternatives routes and this would have consequences. The SCA dismissed Outa's challenge against e-tolls on October 9. Duvenage said that since the decision, Outa had received some donationsand he thanked the donors.

Going forward, Outa would educate society to know their rights and what to do when in certain situations around e-tolls, he said.

Duvenage thanked the 12,000 members of the public and 350 businesses who supported them and said it was not the end of Outa.

"Outa denounces the e-toll system due to its lack of operational efficiency, strategic logic and ethical justification and due to the fact that it has not been introduced in accordance with the law," he said.

-by Sapa


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