October is Transport Month in South Africa and through various events and initiatives the nation takes a serious look at achievements of the Transport Department, road safety initiatives, public transport, job creation, infrastructure development and skills development under the umbrella theme of “Celebrating 20 years of delivering efficient, reliable and safe transport services”. Honourable Dipuo Peters officially launched the campaign on 1 October 2013.
It is important that all road users remain up to date with developments in both legislation and trends that will have a direct impact on any journey. “I urge all, young and old to take road safety seriously. Road Safety begins with You!” said President Jacob Zuma in his address at the official opening of the R71/81 in Limpopo.
One of the latest developments for road users is the dismissal of the last-stage appeal from the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa). The battle between the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) and Outa has been widely publicised since April 2012 and in September 2013 Outa lost some ground with the transport laws and related matters amendment bill being signed into law by President Jacob Zuma. The bill provides for the electronic and cross-border collection of toll fees with the signing of this document Sanral could proceed to implement the e-toll system in Gauteng.
Tolling on national roads was set to commence in April 2011 and following widespread opposition, implementation has been grossly delayed. In addition, tariffs have been discounted three times, since first published, with a statement from Sanral in August assuring motorists that the use of Gauteng’s freeways will cost only R100 per month.
Outa’s challenge against e-tolling on Gauteng’s roads was dismissed yesterday by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein. The High Court in Pretoria had previously directed Outa to pay Sanral’s legal fees incurred over the battle, but the SCA replaced this with a ruling that there will be no costs order. Following the ruling, Wayne Duvenage, Outa Chairperson, stated in a press release that “Outa are disappointed at the outcome on the merits but pleased with the SCA’s decision on the costs order.”
Disappointment has not been limited to Outa alone, subsequent to news of the ruling the Democratic Alliance, the Automobile Association of South Africa, the Freedom Front Plus and the Congress of SA Trade Unions among others have all expressed concern over various issues stemming from the ruling. In a press release made earlier today, Outa has remained transparent and advised that additional funding is required to continue the fight against the e-toll system; the announcement states, “OUTA must now carefully consider its options and determine its next course of action.”
How will e-tolling affect the average motorist travelling to and from work on the national highways? An average month travelling from Pretoria to Johannesburg for work, during peak times and five days a week will cost the motorist R450 a month. The DA national spokesman Mmusi Maimane has said, “E-tolling will kill jobs in Gauteng and make it harder for people to make ends meet” but Sanral’s spokesperson has stated, “At this point we are not in a panic that people are going to be rebelling.” – Eye Witness News.
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