MINISTER RUNS SCARED ON E-TOLL COURT CHALLENGE

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Caucus Leader

Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele is obviously running scared of the court challenge to the Gauteng toll roads as he is quoted in today’s Business report newspaper appealing to the applicants “not to jeopardise South Africa’s international credit-worthiness”.

Government is opposing the court challenge by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA), but it would be wise for them to assess the legal possibility of cancelling the e-toll collection contract that amounts to about R11 billion over eight years.

My estimate is that more than R6.6 billion could be saved by cancelling this contract even though damages would have to be paid.

Meanwhile, SANRAL faces another test tomorrow (Thursday 29 March) as the Democratic Alliance, represented by DA Gauteng Transport Spokesperson Neil Campbell, will challenge the fairness of the SANRAL e-tolling process at a hearing of the National Consumer Commission in Pretoria.

Issues to be raised include:

1. SANRAL’s registration process which includes disclosure of either your banking or credit card details.

2. The assumption by SANRAL that any driver using your vehicle number plate is yours and their requirement that the registered driver proves his or her innocence rather than the usual onus on the prosecuting authority to prove guilt. This despite at least 10% of Gauteng number plates being false or cloned.

3. The charges for all normal business operations carried out by SANRAL to be paid for by motorists e.g. account provision and legal costs (without court orders).

4. The required pre-payment of monies prior to using a road.

5. SANRAL’s assumption that all motorists have access to internet for the fine print of the SANRAL contract. This discriminates against the poor.

6. Discrimination against different categories of motorists based on their economic status. The DA is convinced that many of the conditions SANRAL seeks to apply to motorists fall foul of the Consumer Protection Act.

A ruling against SANRAL by the NCC will bolster the legal case against the tolls that has been lodged by OUTA.

The hearing will be at on Thursday at 12 pm at:

National Consumer Commission Berkley Office Park 8 Bauhinia Street Highveld, Technopark Centurion

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