Courts uphold City's bid to stop tolls

By Staff Writer
In what many are calling a win for the City of Cape Town and its commuters, the Western Cape High Court has set aside the South African National Roads Agency’s (SANRAL) Cape Winelands Tolling Project. Furthermore, the court set aside the 2008 decision by then Transport Minister Jeff Radebe to make sections of the N1 and N2 toll roads.
 
The people rejoice
 
“These decisions are a victory for consumers and motorists in Cape Town. We remain convinced that tolling roads is not a viable option for revenue collection and again reiterate our position that a dedicated and transparent road fund will be more equitable and supportive,” said the Automobile Association of South Africa (AA).
 
Brett Herron the City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for transport agreed, stating: “The judgment is a resounding victory for the residents of Cape Town and the Western Cape as this means that SANRAL cannot go ahead with the Winelands Tolling Project.
 
“Should they want to do so, the court found that SANRAL will have to start all over again with a proper public participation process.”
 
In a statement by Democratic Alliance (DA) Western Cape leader Patricia de Lille, she noted: “The Western Cape High Court’s decision today to set aside SANRAL’s unlawful decision to toll the N1 and N2 in the province, is an enormous victory for the DA-led City of Cape Town and all the people of the province.
 
“We stood up against the national government and against SANRAL and stated loud and clear that what happened in Gauteng, will not happen in the Western Cape. And today our victory belongs to the poor people of the Western Cape.”
 
SANRAL responds
 
However, not everyone is overjoyed at this decision. In a statement released by the roads agency, Vusi Mona, spokesperson for SANRAL, noted that he is “disappointed that the court set aside the decisions concerning the procedure of the declaration to toll.”
 
According to Mona, SANRAL’s legal team is reviewing the court’s decision and assessing what legal options are available to them.
 
Furthermore, Mona has noted that the court’s decision will delay or prevent many benefits that the tolling project would have resulted in. These include safety for road users.
 
“It will also prevent the direct and indirect  creation of  some 5 000 jobs for the initial construction  period over the first three years of the project and thereafter approximately 500 jobs per annum for the duration of the thirty-year concession period,” revealed SANRAL.
 
“If SANRAL is not allowed to proceed with the project now, the province, the city and their constituents will not have the upgrades for at least the next 20 years, if at all," said Mona.

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