E-Tolls in Johannesburg
SANRAL Can Implement E-Tolls, Vavi To Fight
The Constitutional Court set aside an interim order that put Gauteng's e-tolls on hold on Thursday, thus allowing Sanral to implement the system.
"The interim order granted by the high court of 28 April, 2012, is set aside," said Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke.
This was because the high court had not considered the separation of powers between the court and the executive.
The High Court in Pretoria granted the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) an interdict on April 28, ruling that a full review needed to be carried out before electronic tolling of Gauteng's highways could be put into effect.
The interdict prevented the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) from levying or collecting e-tolls pending the outcome of the review.
Sanral and National Treasury appealed the court order, and said delays prevented the payment of debts incurred building gantries.
Reading the unanimous judgment, Moseneke said the separation of powers was vital to South Africa's constitutional democracy.
Courts should refrain from doing this unless they did so in a constitutional way and in exceptional circumstances.
The national executive was responsible for public resources and, "absent of fraud or corruption", had the power and prerogative to implement and finance projects, with the approval of Parliament.
"Courts are not always well-suited to make decisions of that order," said Moseneke.
Outa leader Wayne Duvenage said after the judgment: "They can't start e-tolls tomorrow. Sanral would have to put plans in place and still deal with some outstanding issues."
Meanwhile, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi vowed on Thursday to resist "with every power we have" the introduction of Gauteng's e-tolling project.
"In our view, it would be a huge mistake by government if it was to steam ahead on the basis of the Constitutional Court judgment and implement what we all know is an extremely unpopular policy decision," he said.
"We are going to resist it with every power we have."
Vavi was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) national congress in Midrand, Johannesburg.
"Cosatu remains absolutely determined to oppose the e-tolls at the street level. The mobilisation is not over," he said.