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Thu Oct 23 02:39:26 SAST 2014

E-tolls ready to roll 'any time'

SIPHO MASOMBUKA | 14 December, 2012 00:36
Toll gantry.
Image by: Russell Roberts

THE Department of Transport was capable of implementing the e-tolling system at "any time".

The Pretoria High Court yesterday dismissed with costs an application to derail e-tolling.

Transport Department spokesman Tiyani Rikhotso said "from the systems point of view, [e-tolling] is ready and it can go live any time from now".

He said Transport Minister Ben Martins was considering about 11000 public submissions on the regulation of tolling, exemptions from tolling and the toll tariffs gazetted in October.

"[Martins] is required by law to make public his final determination on these issues and it is only 14 days after the minister has made public his final determination that the process can commence," he said.

Rikhotso would not say when e-tolls would kick in, saying he could not predicthow long Martins would need to consider submissions.

There are no discussions about similar funding models for other provincial roads, Rikhotso said.

Judge Louis Vorster rejected the contention of the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance that the SA National Roads Agency's public consultation process was deficient.

He ruled that Sanral's notices in newspapers were adequate and that the argument that such notification was unfair rested on the erroneous assumption that each and every user of the proposed toll roads had a right to be informed.

He said it was clear from the Constitutional Court ruling that "capital costs, operating costs and tariffs to be imposed were not open for comment or public participation by potential interested or affected persons as these fell squarely within the domain of the executive government as a matter of financial policy".

Outa chairman Wayne Duvenage said the ruling was a "sad day" for democracy and that it would result in society feeling powerless against the state and its "bulldozer tactics".

He encouraged motorists to boycott e-tags.

Cosatu's Patrick Craven said the trade federation would intensify its protest.

Sanral CEO Nazir Ali said Outa showed disrespect for the law by not abandoning the review application though the Constitutional Court had set aside the previous order stopping e-tolling.

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