Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Outa is out of pocket

SIPHO MASOMBUKA | 18 December, 2012 00:00 Sanral overhead toll gantries Image by: Brendan Croft THE coalition against e-tolling has appealed to Gauteng motorists to continue pumping money into its coffers so that it can take the fight against the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project to the Supreme Court of Appeal. Last week, Pretoria High Court acting judge Louis Vorster dismissed the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance's application for an order to scrap the e-tolls. Instead, the judge slapped the coalition with an order to pay the state's legal costs, which could amount to about R30-million. Two weeks ago Outa raised just over R7-million from the public to meet its R10.5-million target to cover its legal costs. The alliance's chairman, Wayne Duvenage, said money was still coming in but too slowly. He said another option was to appeal the costs order. "It is going to be hard to get the money. It is still coming in . but it is not at the volume we want it to be," he said. Should the costs order stay, Outa will have to pay about 40% of the government's legal costs. Duvenage said the alliance was confident that the public would continue donating money though its legal bid had been thwarted. The costs order has implications for other civil action groups. They are likely to think twice about turning to the courts because they would be wary of the possibility of having to bear their opponent's legal costs if they lose their case. Duvenage said the alliance had found serious and worrying flaws in the Pretoria High Court ruling, which it believes could be reviewed by the Supreme Court of Appeal. "We are going to make a decision this week," he said. In August, civil rights group Afriforum donated R100000 towards Outa's legal costs. But the group's lawyer, Willie Spies, said it would play safe this time and consider the chances of success before getting involved. Spies said there was an argument to be made for the costs order to be set aside. The argument, he said, was based on the fact that the application was brought in the public interest and dealt with the right to fair administrative action. "There is a legal principle in our country that, if people approach the courts to exercise constitutional rights, then they should not be punished with costs if they fail and this principle could apply here," Spies said. Times Live - - - COMMENTS BY SONNY - - - How can Outa go against criminals in court? They (Outa) don't have access to the State Pension Funds... No wonder the SA economy is SCREWED daily!!

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