Why e-tolls were fought to the finish

Sanral’s decision to implement e-tolling in Gauteng was not a well thought through process and not in the best interest of the consumer.

This was said on Wednesday by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance’s Marc Corcoran who addressed the South African National Consumer Union (Sancu) on the birth of the alliance and its journey to stop e-tolling.

Marc Corcoran, of the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance, addresses the South African National Consumer Union in Groenkloof. Photo: Etienne Creux. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

On April 28, just two days before the official launch of the e-tolling system in Gauteng, Judge Bill Prinsloo granted an interdict in the Pretoria High Court to bring tolling to a halt, pending a full review of the records and decisions behind the tolling system.

“By acknowledging that the tolling system would have a massive impact on Gauteng road users, Judge Prinsloo gave South Africans hope. His ruling was a gift to a country that feels powerless against corruption in both the government and the private sector,” Corcoran said.

He explained that it was not an easy road for the alliance which was established by a collective of concerned business associations to form a co-ordinated strategy against the tolling system.

Corcoran explained they opposed the e-tolling system for the following reasons:

“Despite several engagements with Sanral in the past, they have still not managed to make the exact figures available. Many of the challenges put to Sanral remain unanswered,” Corcoran said.

Responding to a question from the audience on “What now?” Corcoran responded: “(The alliance) provided sufficient evidence of Sanral’s irrational decision-making to convince a high court to issue an interdict against the process.”

Corcoran said the alliance was surprised to hear the cabinet’s announcement to appeal against the court’s granting of the interdict against the tolling system of Gauteng’s freeways. “It is now in the hands of the court and we suspect that the appeal will be heard sometime in June. We still urge motorists… not to buy e-tags and for those who (have done so) to return them,” he said.