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Sanral face big e-toll test – Outa

Sanral now has two months to prove just how quickly it can get e-tolling implemented.

Outa chairperson Wayne Duvenage. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - Opponents of e-tolling in Gauteng said the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) now has two months to prove just how quickly it can get the system up and running.

On Thursday, the Constitutional Court set aside an interim interdict which was granted by the North Gauteng High Court preventing e-tolls from being rolled out.

Government argued the country's economy was being affected negatively by Judge Bill Prinsloo's decision.

This means Sanral can now implement the programme, pending a full review of the project in the North Gauteng High Court which has been set down for the end of November.

The Constitutional Court's main point yesterday was around the principle of the separation of powers, saying the decision lied with the national executive.

Opposing applicants, Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance's (Outa) chairperson Wayne Duvenage said he doubts whether Sanral will be able to get e-tolls implemented before the November High Court review, as there is simply too much left to do.

"Sanral has always said they're ready. In fact, at the Constitutional Court on 15 August, they said they'd be able to start within two weeks. Well here is the test."

Duvenage said the system was too calamitous and administratively cumbersome.

Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister of Transport Ian Ollis also has his doubts.

"It is financially costly to administer. In fact, it still remains the one of the most expensive toll fee collection systems in the world."

Government refused to comment on whether e-tolls would be implemented before the November court date.

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

Revenue from the system will repay a multi-billion rand debt taken out by Sanral in 2007, to construct and repair roads.