Today’s Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruling setting aside South African National Roads Agency’s (Sanral) appeal to have decision making autonomy on the construction of etolls in the N1 wine-route is not only a victory for the Western Cape but for all South Africans.
This is a victory against the injustice of etolls that have not only been a scourge in increasing transportation costs for the poor but will divert fiscal funds into building new tolls instead delivering much needed services to South Africans.
The SCA declared the 2014 decision of the Sanral board to declare certain sections of the N1 and N2 as toll roads to be invalid. It dismissed Sanral’s appeal with costs, which will ultimately be paid by the taxpayer.
It is now patently clear that Sanral followed an improper and unlawful process which would have resulted in road users paying billions in the decades to come.
The DA will be ensuring that Sanral’s powers are well –controlled and adjusted such that we never see an incident such as in Gauteng where the taxpayer has to foot the bill for unilateral decisions made by government to construct additional etolls.
I will be tabling a Private Members Bill, which facilitates consultation, democratic involvement and transparency. It will go a long way in ensuring that job-killing tolling decisions are not taken again in future.
We will be keeping a close watch on further proceedings by Sanral to ensure this is the last of attempts to building etolls without requisite public consultation and affordability analyses.