City welcomes decision to halt toll projects

October 31, 2011


THE City of Cape Town has welcomed the news that South African National Road Agency Limited’s (Sanral) tolling project to implement tolls on the N1 and N2 has been halted.

Sanral was planning to establish a R10 billion toll project that would include a 105km stretch on the N1 between the Old Oak Interchange and Sandhills, and a 70km section of the N2, from west of Swartklip to Bot River.

In July, the city declared an inter-governmental dispute with Sanral and more recently launched an application in the Cape High Court for an interdict to stop the project, which included two new tunnels.

Brett Herron, Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Roads and Stormwater said the city welcomed the decision by the National Department of Transport to halt the projects until further investigation.

“Our application to the High Court is premised on our view that the process followed by Sanral, which eventually led to the N1 and N2 being declared toll roads, was fundamentally flawed and illegal.”

He said the city has been concerned about the impact the projects, which have not been fully investigated, would have on the economy and residents.

“The imposition of the toll roads would amount to unfair discrimination against poor and largely black communities who would be disproportionately affected,” said Herron.

If Sanral had its way the N1 and the N2 would be tolled from the R300, the N1 stretch would end just after Worcester, the N2 toll road at Bot River. The Huguenot Tunnel would be taken into the tolling plan.

“It appears from the statement issued by the National Minister of Transport that he shares our concerns with regards to the socio-economic impacts and that he is seeking to address one of our procedural concerns, (which is) lack of proper consultation with the city and the public.

“We welcome the department’s intervention.’’

Herron said other legal issues, which were not addressed by the minister, had also been raised.


Cape Town threatens lawsuit over tolls

August 23, 2011

Outrage over proposed R10bn winelands toll road project in the Western Cape

THE City of Cape Town is threatening legal action if the state goes ahead with plans to develop the R10bn winelands toll road project in the Western Cape.

The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral), which struggled this year to apply tolls to the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project amid a public outcry about the high costs, has not yet begun construction on the winelands route.

Cape Town mayoral committee member Brett Herron said yesterday he had written to Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele to inform him about the city’s declaration of a dispute under the Intergovernmental Relations Act.

The project encompasses 105km of the N1 highway between Cape Town and Worcester and a 70km stretch of the N2 between Bot River and Cape Town. In 2003 the project received environmental authorisation and it was gazetted as a toll road in 2008.

Mr Ndebele had not received the letter yet, Department of Transport spokesman Logan Maistry said yesterday. “But I am sure that once it has been received there will be further engagement and consultation on this matter, including by the newly announced government commission on infrastructure,” he said.

Mr Herron said the letter was sent two weeks ago.

The city wants to meet Sanral next week to select an independent arbitrator for its dispute. The city alleges that Sanral’s processes, including its environmental impact assessment and its published intent to toll, were “flawed”.

Sanral did not address the city’s concerns during the public participation process, Mr Herron said. These included the socioeconomic effects of tolling . Motorists avoiding the tolls would use alternative routes belonging to the city, which “will impact on maintenance required”. “Sanral refused to discuss the City’s concerns…. Our letter to the minister is our last attempt at resolving this dispute before legal action,” Mr Herron said.

Toll roads “are always an emotional issue,” Sanral manager Alex van Niekerk said. “The bottom line is if you cannot come up with the money through taxes then you are either going to have (tolls) or not have the project.”