Durban - The South African National Roads Agency Limited has once again come under fire for establishing an environmental monitoring committee to investigate the construction of the N2 Wild Coast toll road.
Construction of a new toll road along the N2 Wild Coast between Durban and East London could begin soon.
Sanral established an independent environmental monitoring committee to investigate environmental aspects of the construction.
This has met with opposition from environmental groups and the public.
The announcement was made following the committee’s inaugural meeting in Port Edward last week.
Sanral environmental manager Mpati Makoa said the environmental authorisation by the department of environmental affairs for the construction of the toll road was subject to conditions, including the establishment of a representative environmental monitoring committee, with an independent chairperson.
“The committee will perform watchdog, monitoring and auditing functions to ensure compliance with specific conditions of the environmental authorisation and the requirements of the approved environmental management programme for the toll road, as well as conditions of all other environmental permits issued for the project.”
More pressing needs
Sustaining the Wild Coast, which has been against the toll road, released comments on the current economic feasibility of the road.
It said, among others, that since 2008 when the specialist reports were prepared, there have been a number of important changes affecting the N2 Wild Coast road project.
First, the rate of economic growth worldwide and in South Africa had slowed considerably, and Sanral stated tolling will be confined to the new “green fields” road and would not be imposed on the existing N2 stretches of the Durban-East London road.
Organisation spokesperson John Clarke said it would be an economic crime to spend money on building toll gates, when there were other, more pressing needs in communities.
“This is such a foreign concept, and residents feel it is unnecessary.”
Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse chairperson Wayne Duvenhage also questioned the independence of the committee.