This follows a surprise announcement by President Jacob Zuma’s office late yesterday that he has given the go ahead for e-tolls to commence, amid a Supreme Court of Appeal hearing against the user-pay system.
By signing the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill, Zuma has effectively given the SA National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral) the green light to commence the widely opposed user-pay system in Gauteng.
But civil action group the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance’s (Outa) chairman Wayne Duvenage said: “Lets see.”
“If Sanral was really ready to commence e-tolling, as it has indicated on numerous occasions, it should be ready to implement the project in two weeks.”
Duvenage said Zuma’s timing was “surprising”.
This was because the Freedom Front Plus raised issues in Parliment about the classification of the Bill. It wanted the Bill to be classified under section 76 rather than 75, which does not allow for participation from all provinces.
“Or maybe it was because they were scared that the court would not go in their favour,” said Duvenage.
“Now, they (Sanral) must toll within two weeks,” he charged. “This is because they have always said they are ready to. Let’s see if they will.”
Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona said some “administrative processes” needed to be handled before e-tolls could go live.
One of these was that Transport Minister Dipuo Peters had to gazette the Bill which would indicate to Sanral when to implement the system. “We don’t report to Outa, we are answerable to the minster of transport,” he said.
“If the minister says we must implement in the next two weeks we will do it.”
The Supreme Court of Appeal has reserved judgment in the matter.
Mona said Sanral would respect the decision of the judiciary. Should the court rule in Outa’s favour, Sanral would cross that bridge later, he said.
Sanral was relieved the Bill had been signed, but never doubted the commitment of the head of state, Mona added.
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