JOHANNESBURG – It is with sincere regret and disappointment that Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) has noted the successful outcome of Treasury’s appeal on the interdict granted against SANRAL and eTolls in the judgment handed down in the Constitutional Court today.
As much as government doesn’t like being interdicted by a court from acting in stark contrast to popular public sentiment, it is our belief that the alternative to such Court Processes is far worse. Although the events which played themselves out in Marikana were aimed at Lonmin, it must be remembered that public disobedience over eTolling as threatened by COSATU earlier this year could very easily take on a similar tone with the eTolls issue.
We believe that this ruling sets a very negative precedent; showing that citizens who are stonewalled by government may not turn to the courts for relief, whilst those who resort to violence get what they want – or at least close thereto.
We will see if SANRAL will be able to implement eTolling within two weeks as stated in arguments in court in August and we will have to wait and see whether citizens roll over and cough up, but one thing is for sure, today is a very sad day for the voice of the people whom democratic processes and now the courts have failed.
The judicial review of the eTolling matter will obviously have to take its course and we believe that efforts to find alternative ways to pay for infrastructure development must still be urgently sought. There can be no doubt that infrastructure must be maintained and upgraded on an ongoing basis as our vehicle population traffic volumes increase but we maintain the stance that ring-fencing cities and tolling people is not the way to go.
Howard Dembovsky may be contacted for further comment.
National Chairman – Justice Project South Africa (NPC)
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