Tolling Could Start Very Soon
E-tolling could possibly begin in a month's time, legal counsel for the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) said on Thursday.
"They can immediately start... or when they are ready... it may take a month," said Pieter Conradie in Johannesburg.
He explained that the Constitutional Court's ruling -- to overturn an interim order giving government the green light to toll Gauteng motorists -- meant that tolling could even start immediately.
Outa chairman Wayne Duvenage said the public was not taken into account and that the costs to the people were too high.
"Outa is concerned that the voices of Gauteng road users were not heard in the Constitutional Court today, but were sacrificed in terms of a legal technicality..." he told reporters.
The alliance believed the ruling could in future "constrain" broad-based citizen groups from effectively challenging decisions taken by government.
Duvenage said the toll model was not cost efficient, and people were still in the dark about how the system would operate.
He said revised tariff pricing, terms and conditions needed to be published, and greater clarity was needed on final regulations [on e-toll police] and exemptions.
Also unclear was the enforcement method for non-payment.
Outa was, however, encouraged by recent remarks by government to consider alternative forms of funding.
"It is important to note that today's decision does not negatively impact, in any way, on our current preparation for the High Court review in November," said Duvenage.
The review hearing will take place in the High Court in Pretoria on November 26.
Earlier, the Constitutional Court overturned an interim order, which had put a hold on the e-tolling project.
It found that the High Court in Pretoria had not considered the separation of powers between the high court and executive.
Reading the judgment, Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke said the separation of powers was a vital tenet of South Africa's constitutional democracy.
"Courts must refrain from entering the exclusive terrain of the executive and legislative branches of government, unless the intrusion is mandated by the Constitution," he said.
Courts should only grant an interim interdict preventing the national executive from exercising its statutory power in exceptional circumstances, and when a strong case is made out for the relief sought.
Courts should ask whether it was constitutionally appropriate to grant an interdict whose effect would be to encroach upon the exclusive domain of another sphere of government.
Moseneke said the duty of determining how public resources were to be drawn upon and re-ordered lay "in the heartland" of the executive government function and domain.
In April, the High Court granted Outa the interdict, ruling that a full review needed to be carried out before electronic tolling 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 against the court order, and said delays prevented the payment of the R21 billion incurred building gantries.
The Constitutional Court declined the Democratic Alliance and Road Freight Association's applications as friends of the court.