Perceived bias on the part of a high court judge on the matter of e-tolling was at issue at a hearing in Pretoria on Monday.
Treasury lawyer Jeremy Gauntlett asked Judge Louis Vorster to "consider his position" in the e-toll case after he agreed with the lawyer representing the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa).
"The point is objectively, what was stated was : 'you can rest assured that I was with you even before you started talking'," Gauntlett said quoting the judge.
"We leave it to the lord's conscience now [to decide on his position]."
Vorster said he wanted to clarify his position "for all to hear".
He said he noticed that two heads of argument had been submitted by Outa and both dealt with the interpretation of section 27 of the Sanral Act.
It stated that public input was important in the development of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).
Earlier Vorster was questioning Outa lawyer Mike Maritz on the reference to the section in the heads of argument.
"Mr Maritz, I put the question to you :'is this not a crucial and important question as to what the interpretation is of that section?'. He answered in the affirmative," Vorster said.
"I said to him, 'I'm with you on that one.' I meant that in the first set [of heads of arguments] that was the point that was made and in the second set that point is still there."
Vorster said he had no bias in the case.
"I have not made up my mind. It is a vexed question and a question that is debated before me," he said.
"I am open to persuasion and I have no preconceived decisions in that regard. "
Gauntlett said the Treasury reserved its position.
The High Court in Pretoria heard on Monday the initial notice of the intention to toll roads in Gauteng by the SA National Roads Agency Ltd was "sterile" and "misleading".
Maritz argued that the public was not aware what the the GFIP would entail.
"There was virtually nothing to be contained in the sterile notice. It was positively misleading and it conveyed to the public that it was only existing roads that were going to be tolled," he said.
Maritz said this was why there was such a limited response to the notice.
"As far as the first batch of notices is concerned, there were only 30 respondents out of millions of interested road-using members of the general public," he said.
"That tells its own story."
He said that since the notice was printed in several newspapers, it could not reach a wider spectrum of the public.
This included those who were illiterate, who had impaired vision or were not around to read the newspapers on those days.
It would have made more sense for Sanral to have notices on television and radio as well.
He said Section 27 of the Sanral Act said that public consultation and input on the project was "critical". However Sanral argued that the notice was enough.
This meant that Sanral did not have to tell the public about the costs of the project or how it would be implemented.
When construction on the project was underway, the Fifa soccer World Cup planning had begun, and average members of the public did not know how the developments would be funded, Maritz argued.
"In the public mind this was all part of the activity surrounding the world cup. The typical road user... did not know that it would be funded entirely by tolling."
He said it was possible that Sanral's alleged non-compliance with section 27 was a "deliberate strategy to keep the public in the dark".
If the principle of user-pay, or the e-tolls tariffs were released by Sanral in previous notices, the public outcry on the project would have happened earlier.