Civil society organisations have vowed to continue their opposition to e-tolling of Gauteng’s highways, with the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) adamant that it will never be implemented.
The Constitutional Court yesterday ruled that an interim order of the North Gauteng High Court in April, which put the project on hold, be set aside as the court did not consider the separation of powers of the judiciary and the executive.
The application, launched by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) — seeking a review of the South African National Roads Agency’s (Sanral’s) declaration of certain roads as toll roads — will be heard in the North Gauteng High Court in November.
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Sanral and the Department of Transport both previously said they were ready to implement the tolls within four weeks, but would not be drawn on a definite date yesterday.
Cosatu said yesterday the government would not be allowed to "ram down the throats" of people, what amounted to a "second tax".
"We want to warn the government, don’t even think about it, because you are going to bring an unnecessary conflict between yourselves and the people that voted for you. There will be no e-tolls," general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said.
The Automobile Association (AA) yesterday urged its members not to register for e-tags. "This ruling shows little consideration for the serious impact tolling will have on the already financially stretched consumer and the added cost to business in the province," public affairs head Gary Ronald said.
Outa said it was concerned that the voices of Gauteng’s road users were not heard in the Constitutional Court but were sacrificed to a legal technicality. Chairman Wayne Duvenage said citizen groups such as Outa might be constrained in the future from effectively challenging major government decisions.
The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry said it remained concerned about the effect of tolls on the cost to business and the proportion of the toll revenue that would go towards a seemingly ineffectual collection method.
With Sam Mkokeli