E-toll showdown in High Court today

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IOL mot nov26 Wayne Duvenage Independent Newspapers Outa chairman Wayne Duvenage File photo: Dumisani Sibeko

Last week Gauteng's controversial e-tolling highway project was put on hold when parliament agreed to delay the debate of its implementation bill until February 2013.

But there is hope that e-tolling could be scrapped long before that.

At the time of writing on Monday morning, opposition alliance Outa was digging its heels in for what could be e-tolling's final showdown as all parties arrived at the Pretoria High Court.

Outa chairman Wayne Duvenage tweeted that his team feels well prepared to argue a strong case to halt e-tolls. His organization appears more confident than ever:

“We believe our case is strong, we've never felt as positive about our case”

Among other points, Outa is arguing that insufficient public consultation took place, that the e-tolling system is fraught with inefficiencies and that far simpler methods of collection (to settle the R21bn debt) have been ignored.

IOL mot nov26 gantry The signs and gantries that Gauteng motorists are getting sick of seeing. Picture: Boxer Ngwenya Independent Newspapers

Outa is also demanding a commission of enquiry following this weekend's new reports of e-toll tender rigging.

Roads agency Sanral's intended implementation of the e-tolling system has hit numerous stumbling blocks this year, most notably the court interdict in April, which ruled that a full review needed to take place.

Even Sanral's latest tariff reduction to 30 cents a kilometre (and R550 monthly cap) was not enough quell public opposition to a system that will undoubtedly lead to widespread financial strain among motorists, particularly the poor.

Cosatu recently announced its plans for a three-phase protest starting on Friday 30 November, which would also entail “closing major freeways” on 6 December and a “mother of all battles” in February next year.

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