For whom the bells e-toll?

2013-10-09 13:58

A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse! I have to quote from Shakespeare's Richard the Third as I try to make sense of the failed application by the Opposition to Tolling Alliance (OUTA) against The South African Road Agency Limited's (SANRAL) decision to charge motorists toll fees in Gauteng......for now.

With the cost of travelling by air or by road requiring users to mortgage their assets or going on overdraft, the ruling of 9 October 2013 by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) against an application by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) against The South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) brings bad news for road users in South Africa. That decision effectively going to , pardon the pun,take its toll unless government comes to its senses and looks to an alternative and creative funding model to service its road infra structures.

Well, all is not lost! Even though the SCA dismissed the application by the OUTA against SANRAL on 9 October 2013 on very narrow, technical grounds there's the Constitutional Court challenge that I opine could, if forcefully argued,have a different outcome.

The full judgment is available on the website of www.saflii.org.za. What went awry was that the application for review was outside the 180 day time limit prescribed under section 7 of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act 3 of 2000 (PAIA).The SCA considered but refused an application for condonation for the late application and even dismissed of the constitutional challenge on the basis that only a toll invalidly imposed could constitute a deprivation of property and that, unless and until the impugned toll declarations are reviewed and set aside, they are regarded as valid in law. As such, the constitutional challenge fails by virtue of the failed application for review.

So the SCA did not consider the merits of the matter and struck down the application on narrow,technical grounds which is most unfortunate. A Constitutional Court challenge could, in my opinion have a different outcome where both sides would emerge winners. What were the reasons being the late application for review I submit that if forcefully argued it could appear that though there was a rational connection behind the decision for government to sanction the E-Toll system this was based on irrational considerations which effectively deprives South African from exercising their freedom of movement.

I gathered, during the judgement, that delays in finalsing this matter would negatively redound on government which had guaranteed some R20 billion in loans and this would have a negative knock on effect on costs of financing loans that it had underwritten.Hence the SCA mindful of the inordinate delays on the part of OUTA to prosecute the matter was not in the interest of the fiscus to further delay the final outcome.Interestingly, the SCA pointed out that from the 12 funding models available to SANRAL in terms of 27 of the South African National Road Agency Act 7 of 1998, it chose three which it laced before cabinet which approved the impugned model that OUTA finds irrational and not in the public interest.

Its worth going to the Constitutional Court one more time whilst applying political pressure upon government to ameliorate the harsh consequences that would greet hard pressed commuters and road users and if that fails well I suppose we could go back to horse as a mode of transport. Hey it could prove cheaper since there's plenty of natural vegetation for fuel jou perde as you klip klop along at 5 miles an hour at top speed. Just imagine how healthy we'd become for travelling at a relaxed pace does good for the stress levels.......or will it?

SABER AHMED JAZBHAY

9.10.2013

FOLLOW ME @jazlaw24

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

AB praises selfless skipper

2010-11-21 18:15

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.