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High court ruling sets e-tolling in motion

Lisa Steyn

It appears the electronic tolling of Gauteng's freeways will indeed go ahead in 2013 after the North Gauteng High Court ruled in its favour.

The North Gauteng High Court has dismissed Outa's application to have e-tolling scrapped. (Gallo)

On Thursday morning the North Gauteng High Court has ruled against an application to have the decision to implement electronic tolling on Gauteng roads reviewed and set aside. 

"In my view the application cannot succeed," Judge Louis Vorster said.

The judge did not rule in favour of the applicant, the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa), and furthermore ordered that it pay costs.

The contentious 185km stretch of Gauteng roads planned for e-tolling has been subject to a number of legal battles and Outa in fact appeared to be gaining ground earlier this year when an urgent interdict against the implementation of the project was granted.

Vorster, in handing down the judgment ruled that the necessary public consultation had in fact taken place, said the matter of financing of the project did not require the consent of the public.

Nazir Alli, chief executive of the defendant, the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral), said he hoped the public would now respect the court's decision.

Outa chairperson Wayne Duvenage said he was very disappointed but said this would not be the end of the battle and urged motorists not to buy e-tags.

The tolling system requires commuters to fit an e-tag that will monitor each time they pass a gantry on the highway and be charged electronically. Vehicles without an e-tag will have their licence plates monitored and billed for their journeys. If people refuse to pay their bill, they will be barred from renewing their vehicle licenses until all outstanding fees have been paid. – Additional reporting by Sapa

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