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Sat Oct 01 09:01:57 CAT 2016

Sanral loses court bid in winelands freeway battle

Dave Chambers | 22 September, 2016 12:16
An e-toll gantry.
Image by: Daniel Born

The South African National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral) was handed another court defeat on Thursday in its battle to toll parts of the N1 and N2 in Cape Town.

City of Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille said she hoped the Supreme Court of Appeal ruling would be the end of “the city’s four-and-a-half-year legal battle to shield its residents against the socio-economic impact of Sanral-sanctioned toll roads”.

A full bench of the appeal court upheld a Cape Town High Court judgment a year ago.

“The (appeal court) declared the 2014 decision of the Sanral board to declare certain sections of the N1 and N2 as toll roads to be invalid ... (It) dismissed Sanral’s appeal with costs‚" said a statement from De Lille and the mayoral committee member for transport‚ Brett Herron.

“I hope that Sanral will refrain from wasting taxpayers’ money on further legal action. The city’s estimated legal costs have already reached at least R20-million‚“ said De Lille.

“Sanral should finally concede that they followed an improper and unlawful process which‚ if it was left unopposed‚ would have resulted in Western Cape road users paying R62-billion in toll fees over a period of 30 years.

“As such‚ the outcome of this court case is a resounding victory for the residents of Cape Town and the Western Cape province as a whole.”

The City of Cape Town argued in court that the transport minister and Sanral failed to consider the impacts and affordability of tolls in the winelands; traffic diversion rates and the impact on surrounding roads; the financial viability and sustainability of the tolling project; and other less expensive funding options for the refurbishment of the N1 and N2.

“Importantly‚ no consideration was given to the negative macro-economic impact on the region and province’s economy‚ in particular to those sectors that rely on freight services such as the agricultural sector‚" said De Lille.

“Furthermore‚ the economic landscape in which the declaration to toll was taken has changed‚ in particular the downswing in the local economy.”

She called on Sanral to work with the city council to find a way to upgrade the N1 and N2.

– TMG Digital

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