ConCourt overturns e-toll interdict

An interim interdict which prevents e-tolls from being implemented has been overturned by the ConCourt.

Tolls sign. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNEBSURG - The Constitutional Court on Thursday set aside an interim order which prevents the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) from rolling out e-tolls in Gauteng.

This decision means Sanral can theoretically start implementing e-tolls immediately, but this is pending a full North Gauteng High Court review of the system which is due to be heard in November.

But the National Treasury approached the Constitutional Court to ask for the order to be overturned.

It argued that Sanral was forgoing R225 million in revenue for every month that tolling was delayed.

The application to halt the project was submitted by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) just days before the project was due to start.

Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke delivered a hard hitting, unanimous judgment earlier on Thursday.

"Therefore, this court unanimously opposes the appeal. The interim interdict granted by the [North Gauteng] High Court on 28 April 2012 is set aside."

The court's main point was around the principle of the separation of powers, saying this decision lies with the executive and the courts cannot get involved.

"What is more absent any proof of unlawfulness or fraud or corruption - the par and the prerogative to formulate and implement policy on how to finance public projects reside in the exclusive domain of the national executive."

The ruling means Government can roll-out the project right away, but there is still legislation and technicalities which first need to be sorted out.

The matter will return to the North Gauteng High Court in November for a full review and the entire programme could be scrapped once again.

The implementation of e-tolling will see Gauteng motorists will pay up to 35c per km to use some of the province's highways.

E-toll revenue will repay a multibillion rand debt taken out by Sanral to construct and repair roads.