It is disappointing that courts are not very familiar with issues around access to information, the Right2Know (R2K) Campaign said. File photo: David Ritchie

Cape Town - Democratic Alliance and Right2Know Campaign members picketed outside the Western Cape High Court on Monday in protest over a Sanral application to have its provincial tolling court case kept out the public domain.

Around 50 DA members in blue shirts kept warm by singing and dancing. They also held up signs stating “Say No to Toll”.

On the other side of the road, a small group of R2K protesters held up a sign stating “Secrecy is for skelms 1/8crooks 3/8”.

Next to the sign was a cardboard cut-out of a red loudspeaker tied in a knot.

In May last year, the City of Cape Town was granted an interim interdict to halt the proposed N1/N2 Winelands Toll Highway project.

The interdict remains in force until the court has reviewed the SA National Roads Agency Limited's (Sanral's) declaration of the project and the selection of the preferred bidder.

In court on Monday, Sanral was arguing for related court documents to be kept out of the public domain because of commercial confidentiality.

The hearing was being heard in camera.

Alison Tilley, speaking on behalf of R2K, said outside the court that they had applied to Judge Ashley Binns-Ward to be a party to the hearing but this had been denied.

She said they were told that an application should be made only if they wanted to overturn his order, while they wished to influence the order.

“At this point, the whole record is sealed and nobody is allowed into the hearing except those who have signed confidentiality agreements to keep whole documents secret at this point.”

Tilley said it was unusual for any court case to be held in secret unless it involved minors or sexual assault.

“In general, there is the principle of open justice; that justice must be seen to be done. For that reason court and court hearings are open not only to the parties but to the general public.”