Cape toll ruling could cost thousands of jobs - Sanral

Tammy Petersen

Cape Town - The SA National Roads Agency Limited's (Sanral's) legal team is reviewing the details of the Western Cape High Court ruling to set aside its plans for toll highways in the province and will assess its available legal options, the agency said on Wednesday.

Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona said in a statement that although he is pleased that environmental authorisations regarding the implementation of the project were upheld, he is disappointed that the court set aside the decision concerning the procedure of the declaration to toll.

The N1/N2 Winelands project is more than a decade in the making, Mona said.

“It was conceived to improve the link between the Western Cape and the rest of the country. Substantial time, effort and investment have been put into its development.

“It was earmarked to facilitate the movement of large volumes of export and import freight, business, tourism, recreational and commuter traffic.”

Mona said the court’s ruling meant benefits, such as the creation of some 5 000 jobs for the initial construction period over the first three years of the project and thereafter about 500 jobs per annum for the duration of the 30-year concession period, would “either be delayed or may never eventuate”.

But mayoral committee member for Transport for Cape Town Brett Herron described the judgment as a “resounding victory for the residents of Cape Town and the Western Cape”.

“The ruling has significant consequences, given the current economic climate where our residents, and in particular the poor, are already struggling to make ends meet,” he said in a statement.

The ruling vindicates the City’s “firm belief that the process undertaken by Sanral to declare portions of the N1 and N2 as toll roads was improper and unlawful”, Herron added.