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'E-toll interdict makes politicians look weak'

Economists say a court interdict against the e-tolling system makes SA's leadership look weak and divided.

Gauteng e-tolls. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The interdict against highway e-tolling makes the country's leaders look weak and divided, economists said on Monday.

Meanwhile, the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) remained silent about the ruling which was made at the North Gauteng High Court on Saturday.

The court put the project on hold until a full review can be heard.

The matter was brought by the Opposition to Urban Tolling (Outa).

There has been no word yet on whether Sanral or government will appeal the court's decision.

The project was recently postponed to launch on May 31, to research alternative funding options to pay off the debt incurred for road improvements.

Under the project, Gauteng motorists are expected to fork out at least 30 cents per kilometre for the use of the province's highways.

Economist Dawie Roodt said the bungled e-tolling deal reflects poorly on those in charge of it.

"Just imagine if they go to the international markets to ask for money for a new nuclear power, for example, they will be the laughing stock of the world because they can't event build a road."

London-based foreign investment expert Peter Attard Montalto said the ruling could also affect future projects.

"The Treasury took the right standing by backing Sanral because clearly the mood politically is to take the easy way out."

The roads agency has to decide whether it could convince a different court to reverse the interdict.