R2K to file urgent e-toll application

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iol news pic w cape e-tolls court INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS It is disappointing that courts are not very familiar with issues around access to information, the Right2Know (R2K) Campaign said. File photo: David Ritchie

Cape Town - The Right2Know campaign is filing an urgent application on Thursday to open up the court record on tolling in the Western Cape which Sanral wants kept closed, spokeswoman Alison Tilley said.

She told the Cape Town Press Club on Thursday they wanted to make documents public that had been filed from the moment the city of Cape Town took the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) to court over the N1/N2 Winelands Toll Highway Project.

Sanral applied to the Western Cape High Court last week to prevent the city from filing its supplementary founding papers in an open court because of commercial confidentiality. The hearing was held in camera and judgment was reserved.

The city's transport mayoral committee member Brett Herron recently said the supplementary papers contained important details about the proposed tolling of the N1 and N2 highways and construction involving “billions of rands”.

Tilley said: “Obviously the hearing is over but (we're asking) can we get a redacted version of the actual record, knowing that the city has prepared one and is good to go.”

They wanted to put the onus on Sanral to say what exactly was wrong with the city's redacted version.

The urgent application would be heard on September 9.

In May last year, the city was granted an interim interdict to halt the proposed N1/N2 Winelands Toll Highway project.

The interdict remains in force until the court reviews Sanral's declaration of the project and the selection of the preferred bidder.

No date has yet been set for the review.

Sanral said last week that its application had to do with tender procedures.

“We do so because the benefits attaching to such plans or tenders have not yet been secured and a competitive tender process may be at risk of being usurped by others if disclosed prematurely,” spokesman Vusi Mona said.

He said the state-owned entity understood that information relating to a tender process could not be protected indefinitely.

“However, before the process has been finalised, we believe there is a case for confidentiality.”

Tilley said they had applied to be a friend of the court for Sanral's application last week but that it had been impossible to argue their interests because they had not been allowed to see any of the documents.

“We're not actually in a position on whether there should or should not be toll roads. What we do feel is that this information is something the people should know,” she said.

“At the very least, the information should be in the public realm and particularly at this point where we are told the deal is completed or is nearly completed.”

Sapa



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