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City appeals “secrecy application”

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The City of Cape Town is taking South African National Road Agency Limited (Sanral’s) decision to toll the N1 and N2 on review. As part of the review process, Sanral has provided the City with documents which they are required to share. However, Sanral has claimed that the information in those documents cannot be shared with the public as it is confidential.

On Wednesday, the City appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeal on its concerns regarding the ‘implied undertaking rule’, a rule of English law which prevents the use of documents obtained by way of compulsory disclosure and the interpretation of Uniform Rule 62(7) which regulates public access to court files.

The City’s Mayco Member for Transport, Councillor Brett Herron said the court found that Sanral does in fact enjoy this right to privacy, as a result.

The City’s Mayco Member for Transport, Councillor Brett Herron said the court found that Sanral does in fact enjoy this right to privacy. As result, the City has appealed this ruling on the basis that in South Africa the Constitution provides access to information and freedom of the media. The City now questions the practise of transparency within Sanral.

Herron said should the major roads in the Western Cape, such as the N1 and N2 be tolled, it would pose as a major disadvantage to the poorer residents who reside on the outer-skirts of the Mother City.

“Because of the legacy of the Apartheid Spatial Planning, many of the families living in Cape Town on the outer parts use the N1 or N2 to commute to work, school or hospitals. People will then have to pay to use those roads. For decades Capetonians have used these roads to travel and now, to simply charge people a fee will have a huge impact on residents and our economy because goods that need to come through the N2 and N1 for the airport or the harbour will ultimately cost more,” he said.

Herron added that there was a huge lack of information in the public space.

“The City is prevented from putting real information out to the public because of Sanral’s secrecy application,” Herron said.

The Right2Know campaign, the Mail & Guardian Centre for Investigative Journalism and the South African National Editors’ Forum are among the organisations who have made an application to be admitted as Amici Curiae (Friends of the Court).

The group has collectively issued an application to the Supreme Court of Appeal on Wednesday morning to submit new evidence by way of oral argument in challenging the interpretation of Rule 62(7) and the application of the implied undertaking rule in the matter. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)

 


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