Outa: Govt will never be ready for e-tolls

Questions are being raised over Sanral's readiness to switch on e-toll gantries.

Outa Chairman Wayne Duvenhage on 13 December 2012, after the North Gauteng High Court dismissed the alliance's application to have e-tolling in Gauteng abandoned. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Questions are being asked about whether the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) is ready to switch on e-toll gantries and collect payments, after having fought for the right to launch e-tolling.

On Thursday, the North Gauteng High Court dismissed an application by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa), to have the multibillion rand project stopped.

Judge Louis Vorster also slapped Outa with a crippling legal costs order.

The alliance had argued that millions of Gauteng motorists had been deceived by Sanral, while government described the allegation as a conspiracy.

The ruling proved a victory for government and its argument that courts have no business interfering in massive policy decisions.

Sanral's CEO Nazir Alli said people must respect the judgment and buy e-tags to avoid breaking the law.

"We have stuck with this project through thick and thin because we were always convinced that we had done things to the best of our ability and integrity."

But the alliance's Wayne Duvenage said the system was doomed to fail.

"Some 18 months have passed since Sanral's first planned implementation date, and today they are still not ready to launch and we believe that they never will be."

While the legal battle appears to be over, the fight continues in the political arena.

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).

To view the full judgment from the North Gauteng High Court, click here