OUTA sceptical of Western Cape e-toll plan
Our constitution requires the public engagement process to be meaningful and for citizens to have the ability to impact on decisions that affect them. After all, these freeways are paid for by and belong to the people of South Africa and more so the communities wherein they reside.
There are two separate matters in which the public need to be fully conversant, one being the road upgrade itself and the second is the method of funding. “We are sure that no-one is opposed to freeway and other infrastructural upgrades to keep pace with a growing society” says Wayne Duvenage, Chairperson of the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA), “however, it is our constitutional right to ensure that we question and challenge Government’s role when subjecting its citizens to inefficient and irrational funding mechanisms which place onerous and unnecessary burden on society”.
The public have been outright in rejection of SANRAL’s irrational e-toll plan for Gauteng, labelling it as inefficient and extremely costly. In this regard, Western Cape citizens are urged to understand the issues at stake and challenge the process to ensure that all decisions taken are in the best interest of society. The public have every right to be fully informed of the costs of the road construction. In the case of Gauteng’s Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), the road construction costs rose significantly from initial estimates of R6,4bn in 2006 to over R17bn by 2011 and the Competition Commission recently announced collusion and illegal anti-competitive business practices at play, thereby subjecting society to higher costs than they ought to have been burdened with.
OUTA’s legal challenge to halt e-tolling of GFIP is expected to be heard in the Supreme Court of Appeal toward the end of the year and if it is successful, the e-toll plans that SANRAL has for other cities in SA will be sent back to the drawing board.