Was National Road Traffic Bill passed legally?

Query on status of National Road Traffic Bill….

Perhaps a more serious constitutional threat to e-tolling has now emerged than just simply public objection to the new road tax imposed by the National Road Traffic Bill based on information captured on camera mounted on road gantries, to pay for roads development and maintenance in South Africa.

This has emerged as a query on parliamentary procedure of the National Road Traffic Amendment Bill, the legislation passed by Parliament before becoming a necessary amendment to the Act thus allowing e-tolling.

Was Bill a section 76 Bill for provincial debate?

The query comes from the Democratic Alliance as to whether the Bill was correctly “tagged” when it was debated in Parliament and approved. Whilst the Bill was also objected to by COSATU, the DA maintains that the legislation was presented as a section 75 Bill, thus allowing approval by the National Assembly alone with simple concurrence from the NCOP.

The DA maintains that as e-tolling affects all motorists and vehicle operators throughout the country, the Bill should have been “tagged” as a section 76 Bill, which would have meant that the Bill should have been referred to all nine provinces and debated at a local level, provincial mandates for approval being obtained.

The DA is also aware that there is strong objection to e-tolling in the Western Cape where main national highways affect township transport, the winelands industry and tourism.

Purely national or provincial as well?

It is possibly a moot point whether National Road Traffic Amendment Bill is a national issue alone involving the minister of roads having the authority and public finance, by a public tax, to develop roads classified as “national” or whether the consultation process in the passage of the Bill was not correctly followed to allow for consumer opinion.

All would seem a little late however. In any case this, such a major change to legal procedure, would have to go to the Constitutional Court, an expensive process presumably needing to be funded by the main objectors, the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA).

SANRAL has stated that “investors (in the system of e-tolling) are awaiting information as to their success in recovering the toll income from users, as this will determine whether they invest further or withdraw their current investment”

SANRAL commenced e-tolls, or electronic tolling, in Gauteng province, after a series of delays caused by opposition from road users and trade unions but from revenue so far received has said “although the numbers must still be verified, from the initial indications we are satisfied that we are on track to meet our debt obligations”.

Refer previous articles


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