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E-toll battle in ConCourt

Govt and Outa will battle it out in the ConCourt on Wednesday over the e-toll interdict.

Tolls sign. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - An interdict against the controversial e-tolling project will be tested in the Constitutional Court on Wednesday.

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) will defend the interdict it obtained against the implementation of the system in April, while Government will argue the North Gauteng High Court had no right to grant it in the first place.

The alliance believes the case is a landmark one, dealing with the separation of powers between courts and government policy.

The Constitutional Court is expected to hear an application by the Road Freight Association first, which wants to join the case as a respondent.

From there Government will apply for leave to appeal the high court's decision, having turned directly to the highest court in the land.

If leave is granted, the appeal will be heard in the Constitutional Court.

The alliance's lawyer, Pieter Conradie, said Outa said top lawyers Allistair Franklin, Jeremy Gauntlett and David Unterhalter would lead the various legal teams.

He said the court was likely to impose strict time limits on all arguments to make sure the case was heard in a day.

The court is expected to hear both the application for leave to appeal and possibly the appeal itself before making any judgments, Conradie added.

A full review of e-tolling is due to start in November.

In 2007, the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) incurred a multimillion rand debt to fund the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

E-toll revenues were expected to service that debt and other associated operating costs.

The introduction of e-tolling will see motorists paying up to 35c/km to travel on some of Gauteng's highways.

Outa argues that the debt incurred by Sanral is a relatively small one when compared on a national scale, while government says the project needs to be implemented to prevent economic harm.

Wednesday's court proceedings is scheduled to start at 10am.