Cape Town - Sanral's decision to toll highways in the Western Cape has been set aside.
The Western Cape High Court ruled in the City of Cape Town's favour on Wednesday when judgment was delivered in the City’s battle against Sanral's decision to toll highways in the province.
City of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille has lauded the ruling as a victory for the people.
“If they want to continue with the toll roads they will have to start the whole process again. This time it must include public consultation,” she told the media outside the court room.
The national roads agency said in a statement the ruling to set aside the Winelands toll project means that benefits, such as the creation of thousands of jobs, would either be delayed or never happen.
Sanral said its legal team is reviewing the details of the ruling and will assess its available legal options.
Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona said in a statement that although he is pleased that environmental authorisations regarding the implementation of the project were upheld, he is disappointed that the court set aside the decision concerning the procedure of the declaration to toll.
The N1/N2 Winelands project is more than a decade in the making, Mona said.
Mona said the court’s ruling meant benefits, such as the creation of some 5 000 jobs for the initial construction period over the first three years of the project and thereafter about 500 jobs per annum for the duration of the 30-year concession period, would “either be delayed or may never eventuate”.
During the court proceedings, the City told the court that the Minister of Transport at the time, Jeff Radebe, made the decision to toll the roads on the basis that the state would not carry any costs.
If passed, the toll fees would have been set at 74c per km, which amounts to three times that which Gauteng users currently pay.
It was understood that SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) made known its plans to toll the N1 and N2 Cape Winelands highways in 2008.
The company questioned why the City had delayed in bringing the matter to court and raised the Promotion of the Administrative Justice Act (PAJA).
According to the PAJA, review proceedings "must be brought without unreasonable delay and in any event not later than 180 days".
The City's lawyers said although they had delayed in raising the matter, they called for the court to weigh this against an "unlawfully built" toll project "that will affect all the people of the City over a period of thirty years".