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Sanral: We didn’t ignore public input

The transport minister says Sanral will do an exceptional job of managing the project.

A motorist uses the N12 highway, a proposed toll road in Johannesburg, on 15 November 2012. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Transport and the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) on Wednesday denied claims they ignored the public in setting the final e-tolling tariffs.

Also on Wednesday, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters announced e-tolling would launch on 3 December.

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters announces the launch date of e-tolling:

The news has been met with widespread anger and calls for civil disobedience.

Critics of the multibillion rand project say it will collapse due to the high number of motorists who won't pay for e-tolling.

But Peters says Sanral will do an exceptional job of managing the project.

"In terms of the systems that are in place, we believe that Sanral is more than capable of executing this responsibility."

"They will be able to carry this responsibility on behalf of government and the people of South Africa, and they're going to do it exceptionally well," the minister said.

Sanral's Nazir Alli says tariffs were reduced and caps were placed on monthly fees.

"We believe that to be able to deliver the collective service, the right tariff must be set."

But the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa)'s Wayne Duvenage says it will never work.

"It's going to be a messy affair - they're not going to get the compliance levels. It's a matter of time before it's brought to its knees."

Suspended Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi agrees.

"Let's resist. Let's unite. Let's refuse to register. Let's refuse to pay. Let's see if government has capacity to arrest three or four million people who continue using the highways."

Outa abandoned its legal battle last month after the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed its bid to stop e-tolling.

The Bloemfontein court ruled the application was very late.

But a new legal bid to stop e-tolling was launched by the Democratic Alliance (DA).

It is still not clear when the hearing will be heard.

The opposition party planned to use a technicality relating to how the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill was handled in Parliament and whether there was enough consultation.

The DA believes it can prove the bill is unconstitutional.

Cosatu held a number of drive-slows to protest the project.

President Jacob Zuma in September signed the bill into law, which effectively gave the green light for the controversial system to be implemented.