Cape toll saga not over yet

Carin Smith

Cape Town - The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) applied for leave to appeal on Friday against the Western Cape High Court judgment that set aside the approvals that would enable it to toll sections of the N1 and N2 freeways in Cape Town.

This prompted the City of Cape Town to apply for leave to cross-appeal against a section of the judgment that was handed down in the Western Cape High Court on September 30 2015 in the Winelands Tolling matter.

Sanral's decision to toll highways in the Western Cape was set aside by the Western Cape High Court on September 30.

“If they want to continue with the toll roads they will have to start the whole process again. This time it must include public consultation,” Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille said at the time.

The proposed N1/N2 Winelands project has been dragging on since 2008.

According to a statement issued by the City on Friday afternoon, the ruling on September 30 was in its favour "broadly speaking".

It added, however, that Sanral’s decision to apply for leave to appeal against the judgment left the City with no choice but to also apply for leave to cross-appeal against certain issues.

The City wants to cross-appeal the court order dismissing the City’s application for reviewing and setting aside the decision of the Sanral Board in 2014 to declare certain sections of the N1 and N2 as toll roads.

The City also wants to cross-appeal the order refusing the City’s application for an interdict to prevent Sanral from concluding a concession contract that would deprive Sanral and the National Minister of Transport of the discretion to determine the toll amount that may be levied, as well as rebates and increases or reductions before a proper consultation process has taken place.

"It is regrettable that Sanral has opted to waste more time and money on this lengthy and costly appeal process, in particular given the fact that the other applicants in this case – among them the National Ministers of Transport and Water and Environmental Affairs – have accepted the judgment," the City said.

In a letter dated October 12 2015 De Lille extended a second invitation to Nazir Alli, CEO of Sanral, to settle the matter outside of court.

In the City's view Sanral is not interested in working together to find a solution for the infrastructural upgrades that may be required for the N1 and N2 freeways.

"Even though it is within the national government’s mandate to determine how road infrastructure should be funded, the political decision-makers and public entities such as Sanral are still obliged to follow due process and to act within the law," the City said.

"The City remains of the firm belief that the process undertaken by Sanral to declare portions of the N1 and N2 as toll roads was improper and unlawful. We will take this fight to the country’s highest courts if need be."