Cape Town -
Toll roads in any form are still a no-go for the City of Cape Town and the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry, despite assurances from the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) that e-tolls would not be used for the Winelands project.
“The city has consistently rejected the tolling proposal on the basis that the upgrades are not necessary and that tolling would have a disproportionate impact on the poor and low-income residents,” said Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport.
Sanral’s suggestion that it would use conventional toll plazas rather than the controversial e-tolling system “simply reinforces how out of touch this parastatal is”.
Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona said that while conventional toll plazas would be used, the electronic or automated method of payment “is a possible future consideration dependent on traffic volumes”.
The chamber said it opposed any form of toll roads within city limits.
Sanral has said the “pay-ways” would be built by a contractor with his own finance, and that they would be transferred free of charge to Sanral at the end of the concession period.
But Peter Hugo, chairman of the chamber’s transport portfolio committee, said there was no guarantee the toll fees would be fixed.
“Unfortunately Sanral has set some very bad examples by charging exorbitant toll fees long after the construction costs of some of their projects have been recovered. They have set some very tempting precedents for the future operators.”
Mona said: “It is always Sanral’s aim that the users of the new tolled facility, be it a brand new road or an upgraded existing road, will derive a real benefit when using that facility in comparison to what it was.”
The city’s view was that the process used by Sanral to have the N1 and N2 declared as toll roads was “improper and unlawful”.
The city would seek to have decisions taken during this process set aside in its review application.
The city and Sanral had to give written submissions to the Western Cape High Court regarding the parastatal’s secrecy application yesterday.
- Cape Argus