SANRAL opposes City's delayed court application
According to reports, SANRAL has stated that the City of Cape Town has not provided a reason why it waited four years to submit its application to have SANRAL’s toll plans reviewed and set aside, despite the City being aware of the planned tolling project since 2008.
SANRAL highlighted in court that according to the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, review proceedings must be made no later than 180 days, which the City of Cape Town failed to do.
In response to a request for comment, SANRAL responded with a press release from May of this year. It said: “The City of Cape Town should take full responsibility for the deteriorating traffic conditions in the City, the lack of safety on the highways and the negative long-term impact it will have on the region’s economy.”
Vusi Mona, SANRAL’s spokesperson, noted: “SANRAL has a plan on the table to address the congestion issues through the N1/N2 Winelands Toll Project, but this is being blocked by expensive legal actions launched by the City and its continuing disinformation campaign.”
According to Mona, “Cape Town’s existing transport woes can only be sorted out through an integrated transport plan for the Western Cape. The N1 and N2 freeway improvement initiative is crucial to the implementation of this plan.
“The fact is that the cost for the upgrade of 175km on the Winelands network is estimated at R11.9 billion (in 2014 terms). SANRAL receives an annual allocation of R12.6 billion from the National Treasury for the entire national non-toll road network which is 18 283km in length.”
Mona added: “It is regrettable that the City has resorted to obfuscations to hide its inactivity and delay the start of the project. One of its claims is that toll fee tariffs on the N1/N2 will be three times the amounts payable by road users in Gauteng.
“The City knows full well that no contract has yet been signed with a preferred bidder and no toll tariffs have been determined. Tariffs will be determined by the Minister of Transport, following a comprehensive process of negotiations and consultations.”
When it presented its argument in court, SANRAL stated that the City of Cape Town has been inconsistent in their intention to oppose the project, and that they do not have a proper explanation as to why they waited four years to submit their application.
Furthermore, Mona pointed out that the City of Cape Town has exaggerated the impact of toll roads on road users. According to Mona, “there are several alternative routes available close to the two planned urban plazas.”
Mona revealed: “Communities living on the western side of the N2, in suburbs such as Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain, Nyanga, Philippi, Gugulethu, Ottery, Retreat and Grassy Park, will not pay tolls.
“On the western side of the N1 the proposed toll plaza will be at Joostenbergvlakte. This means that people living in Kraaifontein, Brackenfell, Bellville, Durbanville, Parow, Goodwood and Maitland, will also not pass through a toll plaza on the way to the CBD.
“The available diversions around Joostenbergvlakte and Kuilsrivier mean that communities in Somerset West, Stellenbosch and Paarl will have a choice whether they want to make use of the toll road.”
According to SANRAL, the tolling of the N1 and N2 must go ahead, or the roads will deteriorate. The roads agency has also stated that by delaying its application to have the tolling project reviewed, the City of Cape Town has postponed the upgrades to the N1 and N2 highways by at least 13 years.