Thu Apr 17 14:43:56 SAST 2014
Thu Apr 17 14:43:56 SAST 2014

Cosatu stands firm on e-tolling

Mar 26, 2012 | Tebogo Monama and Vusi Xaba |   60 comments

"It is a sad day when a nation's government develops a tense and threatening relationship with its people when trying to force an unjust and unpopular decision into being" - Business grouping is going to court

PHOTO: Simon Mathebula

COSATU believes that it can still persuade the government to halt the implementation of the controversial e-tolling system on Gauteng's highways.

Union federation spokesman Patrick Craven said yesterday, ahead of its meeting with the ANC today, that it believed that through the party it could sway the government's position on a system that will hurt the poor.

Craven said today's meeting would be part of Cosatu's continuing efforts to have the e-tolls scrapped.

"We hope we will make progress in [today's] meeting. We have to engage with the government and convince it this is about value.

"We hope some in the ANC can convince the government that we can still debate the issue in which we want the system scrapped," he said.

Craven reiterated Cosatu's previous declaration that it would be robust in protesting against the system.

General secretary Zwelinzima Vavi told thousands of protesters during Cosatu's massive march earlier this month that it would send its members to block the tollgates if the system went ahead on April 30, the implementation date.

Craven said Cosatu would intensify its protest campaigns if today's meeting did not yield desirable results.

"[If necessary] we will get our members to blockade the tollgates and will consider other ways to protest after [today's] meeting," he said.

Craven said Cosatu would not join other parties that have instituted a court challenge against the Department of Transport.

A business organisation in the leasing and car rental sector, calling itself Opposition to Urban Tolling (Outa), launched a challenge in the Pretoria High Court last week.

Craven said: "We cannot be part of people who are driven by political motives. The Democratic Alliance is the force behind those people."

Six days before the e-tolling system is scheduled to start, the courts will hear a case against it.

On Friday, Outa filed a court application to stop tolling in Gauteng.

Group spokesman Wayne Duvenage said: "It is a sad day when a nation's government develops a tense and threatening relationship with its people when trying to force an unjust and unpopular decision into being."

The fuel levy could be used to pay for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project at an additional cost of between eight and 10c per litre of fuel, Duvenage said.

The organisation served papers against SA National Roads Agency Limited, Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele, Water and Environment Affairs Minister Edna Molewa and her director-general, Gauteng transport MEC Ismail Vadi, and the National Consumer Commission.

Last month, Cosatu went on a national strike in protest.

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