E-toll battle unlikely to head to ConCourt

Outa’s Wayne Duvenage says there’s a slim chance that members will agree to appeal.

The Supreme Court of Appeal has dismissed Outa’s bid to stop e-tolling. Picture: Sapa

JOHANNESBURG - The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) said it was disappointed by Wednesday's Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruling on Gauteng e-tolls.

The Bloemfontein court dismissed the organisation's bid to stop the multi-billion rand project.

But the SCA freed Outa from having to pay the legal fees of its opponents.

The alliance's Wayne Duvenage says members will meet soon to determine whether to take the matter to the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg.

"[We need to unpack] the fact that we've got the cost order overturned now. We'll be having a meeting with our members on Monday to decide whether we're going to do that [appeal]."

Duvenage says there is a slim chance that Outa members will agree to take the matter forward.

But he says this is not the end of the fight against e-tolls.

"I don't believe our efforts have been in vain. We have certainly empowered society with knowledge of the real issues - the problems, the high costs, the fact that money flows offshore - all these matters that make e-tolling irrational."

Meanwhile, South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) spokesperson Vusi Mona says motorists will know shortly when e-tolling will launch.

"Our Minister of Transport [Dipuo Peters] has already said, two days ago, that it should be starting before the end of the year. I believe that today or tomorrow, she'll be making a very important announcement in that regard."

But Duvenage strongly doubts the e-tolling system will go online within the next few months.

"The possibility of it launching before the end of the year is slim. They say they're going to. Well, they've missed five launches in the last two and a half years, so let's see what happens. I would hold out, I wouldn't go and get an e-tag right now."

Responding to comparisons on social networks between e-tolling and apartheid laws, Sanral says citizens can't pick and choose which laws to obey.

Mona says, "Well, it's ludicrous. If I disagree with paying tax, am I then going to be allowed not to pay tax?"

But Duvenage says motorists don't have to buy e-tags, saying it's up to society to exercise passive resistance by not buying them.

"They keep giving this impression that it's law to get a tag. You don't have to get a tag. You can exercise passive resistance by not tagging up," he says.

Outa plans to hold a media briefing on Thursday to announce its next step.

E-tolling has become a major political issue ahead of next year's elections.

To view a copy of the court ruling, click here.