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Sanral 'surprisingly arrogant and evasive', says JPSA

Sapa

Justice Project South Africa lawyers have labelled responses from Sanral's legal team relating to e-tolls as "arrogant and evasive".

Tuesday marked the first day of the controversial e-tolls managed by Sanral. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

Lawyers representing Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) have labelled responses they got from the South African National Roads Agency Limited's (Sanral's) legal team relating to e-tolls as "arrogant and evasive".

"Given the level of controversy surrounding e-tolling, our client [JPSA] finds your client's response to the reasonable and legitimate queries raised by our client ... surprisingly arrogant and evasive," the lawyers said in a letter.

The letter followed Sanral threats of legal action following a request for clarification on e-toll prosecutions.

After sending the letter, JPSA received a response before noon on Friday from Werksmans Attorneys, acting on behalf of Sanral.

They were told among other things that Sanral was not in a position to clarify matters reported by members of the media, where such clarity should be sought from the reporters concerned.

JPSA said the answer was not satisfactory. The letter stated that the Government Gazettes, which they were referred to, did not deal with the questions they had asked.

"The Government Gazette of October 9 2013, and/or Gazettes prior to, or proceeding that date, do not support the statements allegedly made by the representatives of your client, as reported in various media.

"It is in any event, unreasonable, in our client's view, for your client to expect our client or members of the public to trawl through Government Gazettes to try to determine the answers to the queries raised in our letter of 26 November 2013."

Traffic jam
Meanwhile, the traffic on the M1 highway from Soweto towards the Crown Interchange was at a stand still, the Johannesburg metro police said on Tuesday morning.

JMPD spokesperson Edna Mamonyane said traffic was "chock a block" and that it had not eased up since the early morning.

That route is not tolled and is close to the N1, which is subject to e-tolls.

Tuesday marked the first day of the controversial e-tolls managed by Sanral, which compels motorists to pay to use certain highways around Gauteng via an e-tag.

Mamonyane said: "Coming in from the west; Hendrik Potgieter, Ontdekkers and Main Reef roads are heavy, which happens on a daily basis."

Kliprivier, Booysens and Rosettenville roads were backed up for motorists coming from the south of Johannesburg, she said.

"Normally in the north, [roads such as] William Nicol and Beyers Naude are very heavy."

Alternative routes
She said motorists were using suburbs as alternative routes.

"People are going to start seeing a heavy presence of cars in their [neighbourhoods]. A lot of it will be from the northern suburbs," she said.

Mamonyane could not immediately confirm which other alternative routes were being used by motorists.

At least two anti-e-tolling media briefings are planned for Tuesday.

One will be by the Cosatu in Gauteng, which has been protesting against the project to "irritate politicians", and one by the opposition Democratic Alliance, which would unveil the "next phase" of its anti-tolls campaign.

Church leaders vowed on Monday that they would not pay toll fees, and called on others to do the same.

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) continued to urge motorists to refrain from buying e-tags.

"There is no law that requires road users to buy an e-tag or register with Sanral in order to use Gauteng's freeways," said Outa chairperson Wayne Duvenage. – Sapa

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