Judgment reserved in Chappies toll case

2012-05-29 21:57

Cape Town - The Western Cape High Court reserved judgment on Tuesday on whether to grant an interdict halting construction of a toll plaza on Chapman's Peak in Cape Town.

It had heard that Premier Helen Zille and transport MEC Robin Carlisle did not received proper environmental authorisation to build the plaza, as required by the Protected Areas Act, and needed to "jump through several more legal hoops".

Jeremy Muller, for the Hout Bay Residents' Association and national NGO the Habitat Council, said written permission had not been given by the national environmental affairs department and SA National Parks (SANParks).

"The [environmental affairs] Minister [Edna Molewa] and SANParks CEO David Mabunda need to apply their minds. It's quite clear that they have not because none of them have been asked to do so," Muller said.

Molewa quiet on matter

Sean Rosenberg, for Zille and Carlisle, had previously said the necessary permission had been granted under former environmental affairs legislation.

On Tuesday, he said Molewa had been very quiet on the matter. This suggested there were no grounds to say environmental authorisation had not been granted. Rosenberg said Molewa was in the best position to stop construction should she feel the correct procedures had not been followed.

A department representative told the court on Tuesday, however, that permission had never been granted in terms of the World Heritage Conservation Act. He did not elaborate.

Rosenberg argued that a delay in the construction of the Chapman's Peak toll plaza would have disastrous consequences. An interdict would delay the completion date by a year, from July 2013 to July 2014, and cost R9m, based on a loss of efficiency and escalation in building costs.

Cancellation costs

Construction company Murray and Roberts, a senior partner in concessionaire Entilini, might also be tempted to bow out of the deal.

"There is a good risk that their patience may run out and that they may cancel this agreement on the basis that interim relief was granted," he said.

Such a cancellation would cost the province in the region of R141m.

Judge Bennie Griesel is expected to hand down judgment in two to three weeks.

  • Zion - 2012-05-30 07:19

    It would be a great step forward for nature and mankind if building that monstrosity was terminated and cleared up.

      Steven - 2012-05-30 11:03

      At a cost of R141m to the tax payer? What happened to the entire project costing R54m???????? Something sounds fishy...

  • paul.papenfus - 2012-05-30 07:42

    What? Inspekteur Bennie Griessel is now a judge?

      Deon - 2012-05-30 14:25

      See what happens if you stop drinking.

  • Andres - 2012-05-30 08:08

    The Hout Bay Rate-payers may laud a decision to cancel the contract, however it is a double-edged sword. We as other taxpayers in the province will have to cough up R141million in penalties. Penalties payable by the incumbent DA-administration, when this deal with Entilini was negotiated under Rasool's tenure as an ANC-led administration.

  • denis.johnson.7771 - 2012-05-30 11:20

    Based on 800 cars a day max when open,the cost of the building and operating costs means quite simply,a huge white elephant which will require an annual bail out from tax payers, the very people screwed into paying for it in the first place! Despite it being a Rasool/anc started project the DA should have done everything to stop this project!!!

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-05-30 14:23

    The entire Chapmans Peak drive should be shut down and closed off completely, the cost of keeping it open is ridiculous, money that can better be spent elsewhere. The whole blow on tourism does not wash as there are many other routes around the Peninsula which will be just as entertaining to tourists. The cost of keeping open a three kilometer road along a mountain that is crumbling and will continue to crumble no matter how much money is thrown at it does not warrant continued expenditure at all. The whole issue has become just another pocket lining exercise for those who have access to public funds and that also includes lawyers who are being paid to defend the issue in court with tax payers money. It is time Capetonians face the fact that nature wants to claim that stretch of mountain back and that it should be closed off for good. Any more money spent on it now is going to be proved to be a huge waste of money in the future as the cliffs there will eventually give way closing the road off if we like it or not. It would not be surprising that all the money spent thus far on court cases alone defending all the issues around Chapman's could have been better used on building more houses for the poor, or improving other roads that need upgrading.

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