WC tolls might serve as election fodder

The DA-led Western Cape is fiercely opposed to Sanral’s plans to toll the N1 and N2 winelands routes.

The DA-led city is fiercely opposed to Sanral’s plans to toll the N1 and N2 winelands routes.

CAPE TOWN - The plans by the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) to toll the N1 and N2 Highways through the province's winelands could become an election issue.

The City of Cape Town has challenged the proposal to toll the highways.

Earlier this year, the city won a court interdict which halted the roads agency from moving ahead with its plan.

At the time, Sanral was ordered to hand over project documents.

Sanral's N1/N2-Winelands toll highway project will affect more than 170km of road.

The municipality's Brett Herron says the decision was taken without due process being followed.

"Our dispute with them is around the process they adopted which would bring these toll roads about. The declaration of the N1 and N2 as toll roads is what we're disputing and Sanral and the minister have followed an unlawful process to get there."

He says tolling the freeways will put a burden on the economy and hurt the poor.

"It goes to whether we should burden our economy with the tolling and whether we actually need the proposed infrastructure upgrade. We dispute that we need them."

While government has given the tolls the green light, the Democratic Alliance-led city is fiercely opposed to the project.

Meanwhile, e-tolling in Gauteng went live without a hitch on Tuesday despite widespread condemnation from civil society groups, unions, opposition parties and the public.

But the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), a member of the tripartite alliance, labelled the day as " Black Tuesday", and once again called for mass mobilisation against the tolls.