Sanral has accused the city of Cape Town of wanting road upgrades-but not wanting to pay for them.

At the centre of the litigation between the agency and the city is Sanral’s proposed tolling of the Winelands N1/N2 highway.

A hearing of the city’s application to have Sanral’s proposal set aside started on Tuesday.

The city alleges that Sanral CEO Nazir Alli decided to toll the highway without the authorization of his board.

The city also claims that the e-tolls will cause disproportionate financial harm and hardship to poor communities along the highways.

According to the city’s lawyers, road users will pay between R44.9-billion and R48.9-billion in tolls over 30 years, excluding VAT, but they would pay only R22.5-billion if Sanral chose an alternative funding method.

Sanral has argued that the money it receives from the government is not enough to fund national road upgrading.

In court papers, Sanral said: “The city agrees that some of the benefits which the project ‘will undoubtedly bring about’ are improvements to the riding surface that will result in reduced vehicle operating costs, reduced congestion, which will save travel time, and a reduction of accidents.

“The city is of the view ‘that the highways should not be tolled at all’. In this, the attitude of the city is similar to that of the applicants in the Outa litigation, who were also mistakenly of the view that they could choose to take the benefits … of the enhancement of the highways without assuming the costs.”

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