250412: ABOVE: There are differing views on whether controversial e-tolling will be rolled out to other urban hubs, such as Durban and Cape Town.

Suspended e-tolling on Gauteng’s freeways means that the government is taking money from social spending that will never be recovered.

That’s what the national treasury said in heads of argument filed at the Constitutional Court this week.

The treasury said the dispute over “the largest public procurement project in the country’s history” meant that the government was spending R270 million a month on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project instead of on education, health, infrastructure or poverty alleviation.

“The effect is immediate and final.”

“Children who are not optimally educated during the months of review, patients who do not receive adequate medical treatment, necessary infrastructure development projects which are not started or completed, and cutbacks on poverty alleviation programmes have acute and irreversible effects on hundreds of thousands of people throughout South Africa,” it said.

They said the matter involved constitutional issues, including disputes over the separation of powers.

The treasury, the SA National Roads Agency Ltd and others want the Concourt to overturn the Pretoria High Court’s April interim interdict suspending e-tolling.

The matter is due in the Concourt next month.

The Treasury and Sanral argued that if the cabinet decided to use the user-pay principle of tolling rather than the fuel levy, the courts should not interfere. - The Star