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Sanral wants tender process protected

Sanral are rejecting claims that it wants to keep the public in the dark about the N1/N2 toll project.

DA members picketing outside the Western Cape High Court against Sanral’s application to keep tolling details secret on 4 August 2014. Picture: Siyabonga Sesant/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) says the public must wait for a tender process to be finalised before details of a toll project becomes public knowledge.

The agency wants the Western Cape High Court to protect information about the companies who've tendered to undertake the proposed tolling projects along the N1 and N2 highways.

The City of Cape Town is opposing the application and accusing the agency of not being honest about its tolling plans.

Sanral's Vusi Mona says they're only going to the courts to protect the integrity of the tender process and he's rejected accusations that the agency wants to keep the public in the dark about the proposed N1/N2 Winelands Toll Highway Project.

"There is big difference between secrecy and confidentiality."

Mona says Sanral has no problem publishing details once the tender process has been concluded.

"We have in our possession information that has been given to us by companies and in confidence."

Legal arguments between the two will continue today.

Mona says it wants to begin work on the project as soon as possible.

"The road is deteriorating and driving on it is no longer smooth. We also have a tunnel; the lifespan of which is quickly coming to an end."

He added the main reasons for the proposed upgrades are safety concerns.

DA PROTEST OUTSIDE COURT

Hundreds of Democratic Alliance (DA) supporters picketed outside the court in protest against Sanral's application.

The group of DA supporters carried placards which read 'say no to toll roads'.

The party's provincial leader Ivan Meyer briefly addressed supporters, saying the public has the right to access the information that Sanral wants to keep private.

Some of the details being contested include the facts and figures around the cost of the proposed tolling project.

The Right2Know Campaign has described Sanral's move as unusual.

The organisation's Alison Tilley has called on the roads agency to conduct the process openly or, at the very least, have part of the court hearing opened to the public.

The court is hearing arguments from Sanral as to why details of the proposed tolling project in the province should not be open.

Tilley says courts would usually only bar the public from criminal cases involving minors.

She says its likely Sanral does not want the facts and figures around the cost of the project to be known

The city could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The Western Cape High Court will rule on the matter later this week.