The Western Cape High Court heard the City of Cape Towns application to have the SA National Road Agency Limiteds proposed toll roads on the N1 and N2 scrapped.
African News Agency

Sanral used an “irrational” procedure when it made the decision to go ahead with tolling the N1 and N2, the City of Cape Town has argued in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

The court was hearing the City of Cape Town’s application to have the SA National Road Agency Limited’s (Sanral) proposed toll roads scrapped.

The City’s legal counsel, Geoff Budlender, argued that the Sanral board did not make the decision to give the project the go ahead, but that in fact it was a rogue decision taken by chief executive Nazir Alli. He argued that it was the board who needed to make that decision as required by the Sanral Act.

Budlender contended that “‘a board cannot make a decision passively, through osmosis”, and said there was no evidence of minutes or documents to show that there was such a decision.

The City asserted that Sanral did not consider if tolling was viable and appropriate. In order to know this, Budlender said, “the decision-makers would have needed to know the cost and what the impact of tolling would be”.

They would have needed that information to make a “budgetary compliant decision”.

He said the real cost of the project was R58.9 billion, far more than earlier estimates of R5bn in 2008.

Budlender told the court “all evidence shows overwhelmingly that there wasn’t a board decision”.

Judge Ashley Binns-Ward was hearing the application, which had been set down for the whole week.

Outside court, Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille told journalists the Protea Parkway consortium had submitted an unsolicited bid to Sanral in 1999. She said it was that same company which would now be responsible for the tolling implementation.

Speaking outside court, she said the tolls would have a devastating impact on poor people living alongside the N1 and N2. De Lille said while Gauteng road users paid 26c per km, Capetonians would have to fork out nearly three times that amount at 72c per km.