Chappies toll plaza 'was authorised'

2012-05-28 20:23

Cape Town - The Western Cape was given permission by two authorities to build the R54m Chapman's Peak toll plaza, the Western Cape High Court heard on Monday.

Transport MEC Robin Carlisle was authorised by National Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa and SA National Parks (SANParks) CEO David Mabunda, said Sean Rosenberg, for Carlisle and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille.

"The approved final site development plan was submitted both to the local [transport] department and the national department in December 2008."

Molewa approved the site development plan on 5 July 2009, and Mabunda gave his written approval of the plans in July 2011, said Rosenberg.

The Hout Bay Residents' Association and the Habitat Council contended that the construction of the plaza was unlawful and unauthorised.

Written permission

Acting for them, Jeremy Muller argued in favour of an interdict being granted to halt construction of the plaza building.

The respondents in the matter are Entilini, of which Murray and Roberts is a senior partner, SANParks, Zille, Carlisle and Molewa.

Muller earlier said Carlisle had failed to get written permission from the national environmental affairs director general as required by the Protected Areas Act.

He said permission was needed for "those things where sods are turned and buildings are erected".

Contravention of the requirement could result in a maximum fine of R5m or a five-year jail sentence.

Rosenberg said that Molewa's authority superseded any lower authority or delegation within the department.


Muller argued that the toll building was not being constructed under the consent of a 2003 management agreement on the area.

Rosenberg said it was clear that the agreement was created "in order to carry out the project: the rehabilitation and operation of Chapman's Peak as a tolling operation".

"The agreement contemplates the construction of structures such as the control building and provides for written consent of SANParks to be obtained," he said.

Muller said the title deed conditions for the land, a part of which used to be a private farm, were being contravened.

About 20 people gathered outside the court early in the morning, chanting protest messages and carrying placards.

Some of the signs read: "DA, people have spoken, are you deaf?" and "R54m could rather build three schools".

Activist Bronwen Lankers-Byrne, who went on a hunger strike on the plaza construction site in February, led the group of protesters.

Judge Bennie Griesel adjourned the matter until Tuesday.

  • Anthony - 2012-05-28 21:36


  • Bless Boswell - 2012-05-28 21:48

    Surely if a project is signed off by a member of the previous political party - that governed the cape at that time - and the project is then found to be flawed by the present governing party, the negotiation can be opened again? - 2012-05-29 11:41

      Hi Bless, Unfortunatly not. If a government, or any other institution racks up debt, even if the leadership changes the debt still has to be repaid. This is the same with contracts; it is actually the institution (business, government) that enters into the contract and not the leader (CEO, Minister). Not saying that renegotiation isn't possible but there is no way that this negotiation can be forced. The onus is for each party of the contract to follow its internal procedures; this is not the responsability of the other party and they are therefore not responsible for any mistakes made in this regard and so the contract is still valid even if internal procedures are not followed. If the contract is illegal then it is actually not a contract and therefore it is null and void. You can imagine the financial calamity that would ensue if contracts and debts were not upheld because of a simple change in management.

  • pws69 - 2012-05-29 07:06

    The DA is wrong. No tolls of any kind are acceptable. When you talk of "user pays", I already pay through around R3 in petrol tax. Taxing me twice is illegal.

      Al - 2012-05-29 08:52

      @pws69, problem lies in that the ANC government removed the ring fence around the fuel tax levy, so now that money gets used for other things and not it's intended purpose. This leaves them to try to finance the roads and maintenance in other ways like tolling. I remember a few years back Chapmans peak was closed due to rock falls and took a large amount of money to fix the problem and reopen the route. While I agree with your double taxation issue and think 95% of these toll roads would not be necessary, we are all barking up the wrong tree. We should be protesting against the government to re-introduce the ring fence around the fuel levy that is can only be used on our roads, then the tolls will stop. - 2012-05-29 08:55

      So if this is your argument how come no one complains of the other toll road in the Western Cape: Du Toits Kloof tunnel? There are some roads in South Africa that are so expensive to maintain and are used by such a small amount of the population the only way to keep them functioning is through tolling. Chapman's Peak - 9km of road connecting Hout Bay to Nordhoek - is the Western Cape's most epensive road to maintain. The last upgrade (not the main one) would've taken up 10% of the entire roads budget for the whole province. This is not about "double taxation" it is charging people for what is, mostly, a tourist service. This is not the same as the M1 from Jozi to Pretoria; and let's try to remember that this deal was signed by the ANC (the province could lose 150million if they don't honour the agreement) and if the deal goes through so does the use of Chapman's peak. I use it once a week, I don't mind paying and a building in an old quarry is a hell better than converted shipping containers they presently use.

  • Harald - 2012-05-29 07:33

    Chappies Toll has been around for years, and is not a new venture... the building is. I don't support tolling, or building in sensitive and protected areas, this was all done when the ANC ran the provincial roads in the Western Cape... thats a fact

  • Charles - 2012-05-29 10:07

    In January 2012 The Auditor General Terence Nombembe reported that national and provincial government departments and public entities wasted and misused more than R20bn of taxpayers' money over the past financial year (2010/11), and R16bn in the preceding year (2009/10) which totals R36bn over the past two years. Why in heavens name does the government want us to pay again when they cannot manage the money we have already paid. The courts need to compel government to go and find the R36bn that they have lost which will provide them with all the money they need (and more)to upgrade essential routes such as the roads around Johannesburg and Chapman's Peak. South African citizens will not continue to pay for government abuses and then be expected to shoulder additional costs when government has plundered our hard earned taxes! They should be ashamed of themselves!

  • sean.noble1 - 2012-05-29 15:08

    Yup the DA should take a lesson out of the JHB toll fiasco, Nobody wants them, and if your going to put them in your A wasting taxpayers money and B doing some serious damage to your image with your voting constituancy.

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-05-30 14:33

    It is time to shut Chapman's down permanently as the cost of keeping it open does is not warranted.

  • pages:
  • 1