Another e-tolling court battle looms

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Copy of st gantry (9) Independent Newspapers Sign of the times: an e-toll gantry near the Soweto interchange. Picture: Karen Sandison

Johannesburg - The DA is headed to court in another bid to have the controversial e-tolling system declared unconstitutional.

In September, President Jacob Zuma signed the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill into law, which gave e-tolls the go-ahead to go live.

The DA is set to argue in the Western Cape High Court tomorrow and Wednesday that the bill was incorrectly tagged as a Section 75 bill and not a Section 76.

The former is debated only before Parliament, while the latter is debated in Parliament and before the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

At a briefing in Joburg yesterday, the DA’s candidate for Gauteng premier, Mmusi Maimane, said this meant the province was “denied a voice” in the passing of the bill.

“If the DA wins this case in the high court, the matter will automatically be referred to the Constitutional Court, where the e-tolling bill may be declared unconstitutional.”

If the act was to be sent back to be debated before Parliament as a bill, this would allow the party to vote against it in each provincial legislature. The provinces would then have to decide on a voting mandate that would be taken to the NCOP.

Maimane said he would respect whatever decision the high court made, “unlike other leaders who ignore court rulings”.

 

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) is not involved with the court battle, but said yesterday it had complained to the public protector about Sanral “deliberately misleading the public”.

Outa spokesman John Clarke said this stemmed from an interview between Sanral chief executive Nazir Alli and Talk Radio 702’s John Robbie on Friday.

He said Alli claimed during the interview that Sanral was getting about R300 million a month in e-tolls. “Mr Alli did not have to explain what proportion of the R300m Sanral had accrued in cash from e-tagged users and alternate users and what proportion is a debt entry in their debtor’s ledger,” Clarke said.

Sanral promised to comment yesterday, but had not done so by the time of publication.

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