City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille described the Western Cape High Court’s decision on Wednesday to scrap the Winelands Toll Roads Project as a “victory for all South Aficans.” Judge Ashley Binns-Ward set aside the South African National Roads Agency’s decision to toll sections of the N1 and N2.
He also set aside the Transport Minister’s 2008 decision to declare sections of the N1 and N2 as toll roads. This means that if Sanral decided to go ahead with tolling they would need to start the entire process from scratch.
De Lille said Sanral would also need to have proper public consultation, which had not been adequately done in the initial process. She said Wednesday’s decision was a “victory for poor people living alongside the N1 and N2 as well as the agriculture sector who would have had to absorb hefty increases in transport costs”.
She told journalists that the City had “gone out of its way to put all the evidence before the court”. This included the fact that tolls would have been set at almost three times the toll rates in Gauteng, at 74 cents per km.
The City’s Brett Heron said he was relieved that the court had ruled in favour of the City in finding that the “interests of the public” outweighed the issue of delay in bringing the case. The City had delayed in taking legal action for almost four years, which had been a key issue in favour of Sanral when the court heard arguments earlier this year.
Sanral said it would be studying the judgement and would release a statement shortly.