An appeal by Outa and its partners to stop tolling on Gauteng's major highways was refused by the Supreme Court of Appeal on Wednesday.
Judge Fritz Brand explained the decision: "The clock cannot be turned back to when the toll roads were declared, and I think it would be contrary to the interest of justice to attempt to do so."
The court held that despite everything that was done and said, the reality was that the review application was brought five years after the toll roads were declared.
"In those five years, things have happened that cannot be undone," said Brand.
The "truly magnificent" highway upgrades would primarily be enjoyed by Gauteng motorists, but they would also benefit the economy of the country as a whole.
THE DEBT FACTOR
However, the downside was the R20 billion already spent by Sanral with borrowed money. The government had signed the guarantee for the amount.
Even with no toll money collected, the government would eventually have to pay the R20bn.
Brand said the costs would probably be passed to those who could least afford it and on whom the effect would by no means be trivial.
Meanwhile, Outa and its legal representatives are studying the SCA judgment that dismissed its challenge to e-tolls.
Outa chairman Wayne Duvenage expressed his disappointed at the outcome.