Further to my letter published in the October edition of the Tourism Tattler (E-Tolls – THE STATE OF PLAY NOW), I would like to update readers following a report in The Star newspaper in October that parts of the high court review of the project to be heard in November may be held in camera because of the fact that SANRAL may wish to retain the confidentiality of parts of the agreement.
Agreeing to keep the ETC contract confidential was the only way OUTA could have access to the contract (ETC) to prepare for its court case. This means that taxpayers may never know the full agreements and pricing surrounding e-tolling.
According to OUTA, the public have every reason to doubt the confidentiality of these contracts, barring any intellectual property. The details of the ETC contract should not be kept confidential. It is taxpayers’ money that is being used to pay the tolls so the taxpayer should know what the money is being used for.
During the Constitutional Court hearing in September, the legal team representing the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) had made selective references to the ETC contract, which Outa had not seen. In order to see them we were asked to sign a confidentiality agreement.Sanral and National Treasury appealed against the interdict granted by the High Court in April 2012 and in September the Constitutional Court found that the High Court in Pretoria had not considered the separation of powers between the high court and the executive role of cabinet. They set aside the interdict granted by the high court which had prevented Sanral from levying or collecting e-tolls pending the outcome of the review.
OUTA is now in the final stages of preparing for the court review and believes its case is as strong as ever. Obviously, there is no guarantee and we trust that on the day, the case will be judged for what it is, that e-Tolls are irrational and too expensive for SA. Not to mention the shocking consultation process and ever changing numbers, poor preparation and inefficiency of the system.
OUTA is still in need of funding support and urges business and Individuals to contribute to the legal costs at www.outa.co.za.
The review is expected take place in the High Court in Pretoria on November 26.
Chairperson – OUTA