SA’s e-toll case resumes

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Independent Newspapers

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Johannesburg - An application by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance for an interdict to stop the e-tolling of Gauteng's major roads continues in the Pretoria High Court on Thursday.

Judge Bill Prinsloo ruled on Wednesday that the application was urgent.

“The widespread public interest and the protesting... should persuade me to hear the matter,” he said.

In his argument on why the system should be scrapped, the alliance’s lawyer Alistair Franklin said the e-tolling system was so unreasonable that no reasonable person would decide to put it into effect. He said there were disproportionate costs.

“Collecting costs are exceeding the cost of improvement (of the roads).”

The minister of transport had to explain the justification for the “bizarre” decision to resort to tolling to recover the cost of the Gauteng freeway improvement project, he said.

According to the South African National Roads Agency Limited, the tolls would cost about R21-billion over 20 years. However, the minister had denied the correctness of the figure, said Franklin.

Vincent Maleka, lawyer for the transport minister and Gauteng transport MEC, told the court on Tuesday that the alliance was not entitled to another postponement of the e-tolling system.

The scheme had already been postponed four times since April 2011.

“There must be an extraordinarily good reason to postpone the scheme again,” he said.

The e-toll system is scheduled to be launched on April 30. - Sapa


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