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If the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) can raise the money to expose the “absolute stupidity” of e-tolling, it would have “positive ramifications” for the N2 toll road plans.
This is what Wild Coast social worker John Clarke believes, adding that there were several similarities between the controversial proposed e-tolling plan in Gauteng and Sanral’s proposed N2 Wild Coast toll road, which envisages a toll plaza at Isipingo, south of Durban.
Clarke has been helping rural residents on the Pondoland Wild Coast with their legal battle with the South African National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral).
He called on Gauteng motorists to continue backing the alliance’s fundraising campaign launched to cover the cost of legal challenges to e-tolling.
The alliance recently brought a successful court action to halt the e-tolling process so that a full court review could be carried out to determine if the plan should be scrapped.
The Treasury and Sanral have since lodged papers in the Constitutional Court to appeal against the interdict. Alliance chairman Wayne Duvenage said e-tolls would set a precedent for all future urban road infrastructure upgrades, with motorists paying high fees.
Clarke said that if motorists continued to support the alliance’s fundraising drive, it would send a signal to the government that “litigation by attrition” was not in the interests of anyone.
“Litigation by attrition” refers to making litigation so expensive for the opposing side that it cannot afford to keep up its fight.
Clarke said he had met Sanral’s chief executive, Nazir Alli, in July 2006 in a bid to find a negotiated solution to the N2 Wild Coast toll road issues.
“He refused to budge and maintained that he would ultimately be vindicated through the courts.
“As a social worker, the thought of having to raise funds to fight court battles to solve problems goes against what I believe,” he said.
“As morally repugnant as this approach is, one has to find the money.”
He said after 10 years of futile efforts to get Sanral to bend on its N2 toll proposal, the issue was now awaiting a date from the High Court in Pretoria to be finally decided.
“If the alliance succeeds in matching the money that the government is forcing them to raise in order to have the absolute stupidity of the e-tolling scheme exposed in court, it is bound to have positive ramifications for the N2 case,” Clarke said.