The long-awaited test case of e-toll defaulters has been handed to Judge Ronél Tolmay of the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria), says Rapport. The defendant is Thandanani Packers & Hauliers, of Benoni, which allegedly owes Sanral more than R400 000.

Thandanani director Venugopal Lutchman Naidoo says he is opposing the claim, assisted by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), as he would have to close down his business should he lose. Outa wants to add more cases to the hearing. Its lawyers filed a special plea challenging the lawfulness of the tolling system, alleging that the government had flouted several provisions of the Sanral Act when it declared the Gauteng freeways as toll roads.

Outa alleges, among other things, that the public was not sufficiently engaged as advertisements were placed only in English and Afrikaans and only in newspapers instead of electronic and social media. It also alleges that the economic impact of the toll roads was not sufficiently considered; that Sanral allowed only the ‘statutory minimum of 30 days’ for comment when the scale of the project warranted more engagement; that there were insufficient alternative routes; and that the public was misled about the cost of the freeway upgrades and running costs of e-toll.

Full report in Rapport (subscription needed)