The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) is planning to implement e-tolls on Gauteng highways in the very near future. According to reports, everything is now in place. The only thing standing on Sanral’s way is the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa), which is against Sanral’s plan. If it was for Sanral, e-tolls would have been implemented last year. However, at the beginning of 2012, Outa lodged a court application to halt the launch of e-tolls.
In April 2012, Judge Bill Prinsloo granted Outa an interdict, which prevented Sanral from launching e-tolls pending a full judicial review of Outa’s application. In December, the High Court ruled against Outa. However, in January this year, Outa filed an application to seek leave to appeal against the High Court’s decision at the Supreme Court of Appeal. Outa’s legal fees kept escalating in the process.
On Wednesday, it was reported that Outa might have to drop its fight against e-tolls due to financial shortage. Outa was in arrears of R3 million and needed to raise attorneys’ fees of R1 million before the 21st of June in order to be able to proceed with its case. Outa chairman Wayne Duvenage appealed for donations to raise the required R1 million. A number of companies and individuals then started donating.
According to Independent Online, on Thursday night, Duvenage was expecting around R120 000 to have been donated and was astounded when he realized that R540 000 had been donated. On Friday, the Democratic Alliance (DA) announced that it would donate R1 million to help Outa with its court case. Although this pleased many members of the public, Cosatu thought DA’s donation was an opportunistic act aimed at generating more votes during the 2014 elections.
Outa’s appeal will be heard in September at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein. Many Gauteng citizens are against the implementation of e-tolls and are hoping that the appeal will be successful. Pieter Conradie of DLA Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, a law firm leading Outa’s case, said the firm would not be leading Outa’s appeal at the Senior Court of Appeal if it did not believe it could succeed.