OUTA to reply to Govt ConCourt appeal

Sanral and the National Treasury have approached the Constitutional Court to rule on e-tolling.

E-toll gantries in Gauteng. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) will on Thursday have less than 10 days to reply to government's application to the Constitutional Court.

Government has applied to the highest court in the land for the e-toll judgment to be reviewed.

It emerged on Wednesday that the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) and the National Treasury approached the Constitutional Court, arguing that the decision to halt the project could set a "devastating" precedent.

In his founding affidavit, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan argued that courts should not interfere in government policies and that far-reaching and irreparable harm was being caused.

The alliance said while it was disappointed that government was going this far to defend e-tolling, it was ready to oppose the application.

Outa attorney Pieter Conradie said the court would have to decide whether it would hear the matter and whether it agreed that the matter was urgent.

"If the appeal is granted then they intend having the matter heard in the middle of July," said Conradie.

Gordhan last Friday told Parliament that the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project was not funded by government revenue.

Gordhan demanded that Sanral paid its debt through partial recovery from road users.

He also reminded members of Parliament that government remained committed to e-tolls.

Gordhan said cabinet would be looking at all mechanisms to support Sanral, which he estimated would lose R200 million a month without e-toll collections.

In April, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria granted an urgent interdict halting the project until a full legal review was heard.

The project was due to launch on April 30, before the interdict was granted.

The ANC and Cosatu agreed to postpone the matter until the end of May, so that alternative funding could be investigated.

The inquiry is expected to get underway in the next few months.