Yesterday’s judgement by Judge Louis Vorster has been described as a “very sad day” for South Africa’s democracy by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA).
Judge Vorster ruled OUTA’s claims against the controversial e-tolling set to be implemented by South Africa’s National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) were “extraordinary deception”.
Sanral were joined by the National Department of Transport and the Treasury Department in court arguing against OUTA.
But a statement since issued by OUTA confirmed they will carry on fighting against the planned toll, which the government argues is necessary to pay for the improved road network in Gauteng.
It read: “This judgement now endorses Government’s decision to toll Gauteng’s freeways, despite the fact that the e-Toll decision has been overwhelmingly rejected by Gauteng motorists and society at large.”
It added: “OUTA has never been that naïve to suggest that society should not pay for infrastructural development. The Gauteng Freeway improvements were needed and have been a most welcome development which citizens know they will have to pay for.
“What is not welcome however, are the high costs related to the collection process, along with other inefficiencies that will make the system too onerous and costly for society to bear.”
The pressure group added despite the ruling not going in their favour, the court case had “empowered society with knowledge of the wasteful expenditure, high costs and inefficient processes related to eTolling”.
He concluded: “It certainly is not over. We are studying the judgement and considering the strengths and merits of a possible appeal, along with other factors, where after we will make our decisions on the way forward.”