E-tolling not the only option: lawyer

Legislation allows the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) to explore options other than tolling to fund Gauteng’s freeways, the Supreme Court of Appeal heard on Wednesday (25 September).

Sanral should, therefore, have kept an open mind on the matter, despite Cabinet approval of electronic tolling.

“Even bound by the Cabinet decision they still had to follow the procedures of the act,” said Mike Maritz, for the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa).

He argued that the SA National Roads Agency Limited Act allowed Sanral to explore other funding options.

Sanral should have considered this and not have been bound by Cabinet’s decision that the project be funded with public money through e-tolling.

The court was hearing an appeal by the Outa in its challenge against Sanral’s decision to electronically toll several highways in Gauteng.

The High Court in Pretoria granted Outa leave to appeal against a previous judgment it handed down.

Replying to a question by Judge Fritz Brand whether Sanral should have ignored Cabinet’s decision, Maritz said Sanral should have kept an open mind and taken all options into consideration.

Maritz conceded in argument that if Sanral had to re-consider a funding option it may or may not ignore Cabinet’s decision again.

He asked a full Bench of the SCA not to look into a crystal ball and predict possible future outcomes if Sanral were asked to review its decision.

He argued that in a real world, where there had been a massive public outcry, and considering all alternatives, the outcome could be different.

The matter continues.

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E-tolling not the only option: lawyer