City of CT challenges “lawfulness and validity” of N1 & N2 tolls

It's part of the city's lengthy legal battle to stop the Winelands Toll Project from going ahead.

FILE: Members of the Democratic Alliance march against the implementation of e-tolls on 27 September, 2013. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town is challenging the "lawfulness and the validity" of the decision by South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) to toll sections of the N1 and N2 highways.

It's part of the city's lengthy legal battle to stop the Winelands Toll Project from going ahead.

Argument in the city's review application began in the Western Cape High Court this morning.

The city has dubbed this matter the "tolling trial of the century."

Essentially, it wants the Winelands Toll project scrapped.

The city claims that various decision makers failed to take decisions in accordance with that law required.

It says the ministry of transport failed to consider the merits and impacts of tolling when it declared the N1 and N2 as toll roads, and that this was unlawful.

In addition, it argues the environmental affairs minister, did not consider the socio-economic impact of tolling.

The city's lawyer Geoff Budlender told the court today that there was no board decision taken by Sanral to declare the Highways as toll roads after 2004.

CITY'S DEFENCE DISCREDITS SANRAL

Meanwhile a lawyer for the City of Cape Town has told the Western Cape High Court there is overwhelming evidence that Sanral's board did not decide to declare the N1 and N2 as toll roads in 2008.

The decision to toll the two highways was published in the government gazette in September 2008, under Sanral CEO Nazir Alli's signature.

But Budlender argued that if the road agency's board had taken the decision, there would be documentary evidence to prove it.

In court papers the city says Alli hasn't explained when such a decision was taken.

It adds none of the board members at the time have offered an affidavit to say they were party to that decision.

The city argues that if it was Alli who made the decision, the court should set aside the 2008 declaration, because Alli was not empowered by law to do so.

Alli denies that he took the decision on behalf of Sanral's board.