'Sanral's public participation on tolling was farce'

The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry has welcomed the decision to set aside the toll project.

The face-off between Sanral and the City of Cape Town ended with the court setting aside both the decision to toll as well as the transport minister's approval of the project. Picture: Rahima Essop/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry says the public participation process by the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) on the Winelands Tolling project was a farce.

The organisation has welcomed the Western Cape High Court's ruling yesterday to set aside the decision to toll sections of the N1 and N2 highways and the transport minister's approval of the plans.

Should Sanral want to proceed with the project, it would have to gain government approval from scratch and canvass citizens for their views.

The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry's president Janine Myburgh says every reputable organisation in Cape Town opposed the idea of urban tolling, but the objections were swept aside.

She believes the roads agency never seriously considered alternatives to tolling, such as sourcing funds from the fuel levy.

The City of Cape Town challenged the validity and lawfulness of a series of decisions which led to the initiative being given the green light in 2008.

It argued the move would negatively impact the province's poor people.

Sanral says it's considering its legal options and maintains tolling is the only option to fund the road upgrades.