Judge rules e-toll matter is urgent

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IOL mot pic apr25  E-Toll 1 INLSA Motorists cheer on DA protesters outside the Pretoria High Court. Piccture: Phill Magakoe

The application by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance for an interdict to prevent Sanral going ahead with the planned launch of e-tolling is indeed urgent, according to a ruling this morning in the Pretoria High Court.

Which means that Sanral has lost the first round of its battle against the alliance and the matter will now be heard - and decided - before the planned April 30 deadline.

In his ruling Judge Bill Prinsloo said Outa had made a proper case for urgency.

“The matter will proceed.”

“The widespread public interest, and the protesting, should persuade me to hear the matter.”

Prinsloo said lawyers for Sanral, the national treasury, the minster of transport and the Gauteng transport MEC did not persuade him that the Outa application was an abuse of the court.

He added that, due to inconsistency on start-up dates, unclear tariffs and a huge public outcry against the scheme, it was in the public interest to rule before the planned implementation date whether tolling should go ahead or not.

EXCESSIVE COST

In his argument, Alistair Franklin SC, for Outa, said even the estimated R20 billion needed to operate the tolls was excessive, and that Sanral had never actually revealed the true cost of operation.

David Unterhalter SC, representing Sanral, said the operation figure depended on non-compliance - at which point the judge asked drily: “The way things are going, what do you think the rate of non-compliance will be?”

Unterhalter replied that the costs would only become excessive if more than 60 percent of road users did not comply with the tolls.

Sources: The Star & Sapa

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