Cape Town - An application to have certain aspects of the proposed N1/N2 Winelands Toll Highway project kept confidential has to do with tender procedures, Sanral said on Monday.
“Where plans have not yet been implemented or tenders not yet awarded, it is important that we respect the integrity of the tender process,” said SA National Roads Agency limited spokesman Vusi Mona.
“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.”
The Western Cape High Court was hearing an application by Sanral on Monday to keep certain documents out of the public domain because of commercial confidentiality.
The application, which is being heard in camera, was opposed by the City of Cape Town.
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.
“Sanral understands that as a practical matter and in an open democracy, information relating to a tender process, especially when involving a state-owned entity, cannot be protected indefinitely,” Mona said.
“However, before the process has been finalised, we believe there is a case for confidentiality.”
He said it was important to note that Sanral had not yet awarded the tender and had only selected a preferred bidder.
Transport Minister Dipuo Peters had not declared the toll tariff.
“Accusations that Sanral is refusing to disclose the tariffs are therefore at best, misguided and at worst, simply not true.”
Democratic Alliance and Right2Know (R2K) Campaign members picketed outside the court on Monday, holding up placards stating “Say No to Toll” and “Secrecy is for skelms (crooks)”.
In a statement, R2K said it appeared the parties at the hearing were going to compromise and release a redacted version of the court papers.
However, it claimed Sanral had refused to agree to this.
“E-tolling will have serious effects on all residents of the Western Cape, especially the poorest of the poor. This matter can't be dealt with in secret,” the organisation stated.
Provincial DA leader Ivan Meyer said the party wanted to know what the cost of the proposed tolling project was, the planned tariffs, the expected revenue and the costs paid to the tolling operator.
“Sanral knows that if all the details were to be made public, opposition to their destructive plan would only grow.”
Meyer said the party would do all it could to prevent Sanral introducing further tolling in the province.