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Johannesburg - The Supreme Court of Appeal's dismissal of Outa's challenge against e-tolls was welcomed by the transport department on Wednesday, but Cosatu vowed to continue the fight.
Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said the government had fulfilled the legal requirements relating to the introduction of e-tolling on Gauteng's highways.
"The verdict handed down by the SCA is a confirmation of the earlier finding of the North Gauteng High Court 1/8in Pretoria 3/8 which, after a thorough review of the challenge brought before it, ruled that there was sufficient consultation carried out by government."
The transport department encouraged motorists to register for e-tags so they could benefit from the associated discounts.
SCA Judge Fritz Brand made no cost order in handing down his judgment.
However, he set aside the order granted by the High Court in Pretoria directing the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) to pay the SA National Road Agency Limited's (Sanral) costs, and replaced it with a ruling that there be no costs order.
Gauteng transport MEC Ismail Vadi also welcomed the SCA decision.
His spokeswoman Octavia Mamabolo said in a statement that an extensive consultation process had been undertaken by the national transport department and Sanral, and that the suggestions received were taken into account.
However, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said the judge's ruling made no difference to its campaign against e-tolls.
"This decision will make no difference to Cosatu’s unwavering campaign against this attempt to privatise our public highways," said spokesman Patrick Craven.
"Our roads are a public asset already paid for through taxation and the fuel levy, and motorists should not therefore have to pay again to drive on these public highways."
Sanral said the SCA's dismissal of Outa's appeal added certainty to tolling.
"As Sanral, it has always been our view that we have done things according to the law," its CEO Nazir Alli said in a statement.
"It is regrettable that a purely infrastructural matter has been so politicised and resulted in unnecessary polarisation.
"My appeal to everyone is... let us join hands and move on. We have infrastructure to build, but critically, a country to build."
The Democratic Alliance said the fight against e-tolls was now in the hands of the people of Gauteng.
"E-tolling will kill jobs in Gauteng and make it harder for people to make ends meet," DA spokesman Mmusi Maimane said in a statement.
"The power of the vote is the surest way to stop tolls."
Maimane said this was not the end of the road in the fight against e-tolls.
He said the DA had contributed R1 million to Outa's court action because it believed it was important to contest the principle of e-tolling.
Outa chairman Wayne Duvenage said the alliance and its lawyers were studying Brand's judgment.
The Automobile Association of SA (AA) said it was a travesty that the voices of the public had not been heard.
"The ongoing fight against e-tolls has not been about users refusing to pay for improved roads, but rather about the unnecessary, exorbitant and unacceptable additional costs that the e-toll system imposes on the citizens of Gauteng," it said.
The AA called on the government to provide transparency on what the current national fuel levy of R2.13 per litre was being allocated. It called for a dedicated fund derived from this levy for road infrastructure improvement to address the road maintenance backlog.
The Freedom Front Plus said it would join the legal battle against the tolling system.
"The public should, however, not lose hope as there is still an opportunity for Outa to turn to the Constitutional Court," said FFPlus parliamentary spokesman Anton Alberts.
"The FFPlus will also now be contesting the e-toll bill in the high court on the basis that the bill is unconstitutional, and there is a strong probability of being successful with such an application," he said.
Agang SA said it was disappointed by the SCA's decision.
"This is not the end of the road and opposition to the wasteful, unpopular scheme will continue to grow," it said.
"E-tolls still have to pass the test of society's support and all indications are that they will fail because they are irrational in many respects."
It said the enforcement of payment for e-tolls through the Criminal Procedure Act was adding "insult to injury".
"The already overcrowded courts in Gauteng will come under even more pressure, while making criminals of decent folks engaged in civil disobedience against the e-toll.