Outa needs cash to fight tolls

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IOL Wayne Duvenage

INLSA

Wayne Duvenage at the Constitutional Court after the appeal against an interim interdict preventing the e-tolling in Gauteng was upheld. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

A total of R3.8 million. That is what it will take for the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance to reach the R10.8 million needed to appeal against a court ruling that frustrated its plans to have e-tolls scrapped.

While a shortfall of R3.8 million would not prevent the case from getting to court, it was still needed to add to the R7.8 million already raised to ensure a smooth progression of matters.

Alliance chairman Wayne Duvenage said on Thursday: “The call for financial support is now even greater as we will need additional funds to meet the costs of the appeal.”

He said, however, that the alliance would not wait to have the full amount to get the wheels of justice grinding.

“Most members have already given the alliance the mandate to pursue the appeal, and affidavits and other papers necessary to set the process in motion are expected to be completed by January 9,” said Duvenage.

“UPHOLD THE RULE OF LAW”

“The legal recommendation to Outa and its members to appeal is precisely to uphold the rule of law. Outa met with their legal team and reviewed the recent judgment.

“The meeting concluded that the judgment raised serious concerns which cannot go unchallenged. The judge’s interpretation of section 27 of the Sanral Act effectively renders public participation meaningless and is out of line with other Constitutional Court decisions on the right of fair administrative action,” Duvenage said.

The alliance had argued that the public participation process – done in 2007 when the decision to toll was made – was so inadequate that it was illegal.

“KEEPING THE PUBLIC IN THE DARK”

They argued further that the SA National Roads Agency Limited had kept the public in the dark to avoid opposition to the project so that it could build the roads in time for the World Cup in 2010.

But Judge Louis Vorster dismissed these arguments, saying information published in the Government Gazette and newspapers was adequate to inform interested parties of the proposed toll declaration.

Judge Vorster ruled further that the capital costs of the proposed toll scheme, its operating costs and tariffs to be imposed were not matters that were open for public participation by interested or affected parties as they were exclusively matters of the executive government.

SUPPORT FROM COSATU

These are some of the matters the alliance seeks to challenge in the appeals court, saying Judge Vorster failed to even consider many of the grounds it had brought to his attention.

Duvenage appealed to those opposed to the toll gantries to visit www.outa.co.za for information on how to make donations aimed at helping with the appeal process.

Cosatu, which has always dissuaded people from buying e-tolling tags, on Thursday urged Gauteng drivers to support the alliance’s fund-raising drive. However, spokesman Patrick Craven would not indicate how the union federation would assist in the drive to have the tolls scrapped.

“We will discuss that when we get back from the holidays. But we urge people to help the alliance. We think they are right in what they are doing,” he said. - The Star


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