South African Government describes OUTA’s e-tolling campaign as “vexatious litigation”

A government official has publicly slammed the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance’s (OUTA) attempts to “harass” the administration in court over its controversial plans to introduce e-tolling.

HumanIPO reported last week the court had ruled in favour of the government and the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL), meaning it will press ahead with plans to begin charging motorists in Gauteng next year.

Writing on a government blog, Vusi Mona, Deputy Chief Executive of Government Communication and Information System, said though a “triumphalist attitude towards citizens in litigation matters is not in the character of the South African government”, he felt obliged to raise “issues of principle”.

Mona said: “It is one thing to bring court action against an adversary on meritorious grounds but quite another to do so solely with the intention to harass or subdue one’s opponent.

“In law, the latter is called vexatious litigation – legal action brought regardless of its merits.”

OUTA were successful with court action in March when it halted e-tolling on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, but the government subsequently won an appeal in the Constitutional Court.

Mona said it was at that stage OUTA should have “started seeing signs of a meritless case”.

E-tolling has been planned by SANRAL since 2008 and is being implemented to pay to for extensive road improvements in the Gauteng province.

HumanIPO reported last week that OUTA was planning to continue the fight against the project.

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