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High Court to rule on e-tolls

North Gauteng High Court will deliver its verdict on whether e-tolls can be launched.

A board with e-toll rates. Picture: iWitness

JOHANNESBURG - The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) said it was "quietly optimistic" about Thursday's judgment that will determine the fate of e-tolling.

The North Gauteng High Court will on Thursday due deliver its much-awaited verdict on whether the multibillion rand project can be launched in the New Year.

The judgment comes just two weeks after the case was heard.

Judge Louis Vorster will reveal whether he accepts the alliance's argument that the public was deliberately kept in the dark about the full implications of e-tolling in Gauteng.

The alliance's chair Wayne Duvenage said they had worked hard on the case.

"We've worked hard. We believe that our case has been well presented. We're quietly optimistic and confident."

The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) and National Treasury have said the public knew exactly what was happening and the courts have no right to interfere with government policy, no matter how unpopular.

The Constitutional Court has already agreed with this argument and may be forced to settle the matter once and for all through a series of likely appeals.

Either way, e-tolling is expected to remain offline until February.

Revenue collected from e-tolls will pay off a multibillion rand debt incurred by Sanral for the construction of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).

In one of its arguments, Outa said the e-toll model to fund the GFIP will cost citizens (predominantly in Gauteng) an extra R73 billion more than they need to pay for the GFIP over 20 years.