City of CT vs Sanral battle continues

The City is challenging the validity and lawfulness of the decision to go ahead with the Winelands Toll.

The City of Cape Town legal team in the Western Cape High Court during battle involving the Winelands tolling of the N1 and N2 saga on 11 August 2015. Picture: Rahima Essop/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - A lawyer for the City of Cape Town has told the Western Cape High Court that the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral)'s claim that its board decided to declare the N1 and N2 highways as toll roads is "far-fetched", in the absence of written evidence to support it.

The city's lawyer Geoff Budlender handed over a nine-page document to the court on Tuesday, in which he argued there was overwhelming evidence to show Sanral's board was not involved in declaring the N1 and N2 as toll roads in 2008.

The city is challenging the validity and the lawfulness of the decision to go ahead with the Winelands Toll Project.

It is fighting to have the project scrapped, claiming tolling will have a damaging impact on the regional economy and the poor.

The declaration was gazetted in September of that year under CEO Nazir Alli's signature, a decision he denied taking alone.

But the city's Brett Herron is not convinced.

"There's no evidence that the board ever took a decision. And so by implication we're arguing that the decision to toll that should have been taken by board was taken by the CEO Mr Alli."

In court papers, the city argued that aside from the fact that the board didn't make the declaration, there was in any event insufficient information for it to validly do so.

The city also says the Transport Minister was not aware of the cost of the project when Sanral's intention to toll was endorsed.

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.

Budlender will continue laying out his argument today.

The matter has been set down for several days.