Cosatu to strike over Mboweni's e-tolls stance

Cosatu has planned a stayaway on Friday to protest against finance minister Tito Mboweni's insistence in his mid-term budget speech that motorists should pay for e-tolls. / KATHERINE MUICK-MERE
Cosatu has planned a stayaway on Friday to protest against finance minister Tito Mboweni's insistence in his mid-term budget speech that motorists should pay for e-tolls. / KATHERINE MUICK-MERE

Cosatu in Gauteng will embark on a stayaway on Friday to protest against e-tolls and deliver a memorandum to President Cyril Ramaphosa in Pretoria.

The union federation said yesterday that it was angered by finance minister Tito Mboweni's announcement that the government would continue with e-tolls.

In his medium-term budget policy speech on Wednesday, Mboweni said if the country wanted a road transport infrastructure that worked, "we need to pay our tolls".

Mboweni said the government remained committed to the user-pays principle because it was the most effective way to ensure that the direct benefits of services were paid for by those who used them.

The e-tolls were introduced to pay for improvements made to the Gauteng freeway network after 2010.

In a media briefing in
Johannesburg yesterday, Cosatu's Gauteng secretary Dumisani Dakile said the e-tolls represented daylight robbery for the people of Gauteng.

"We think the minister has already been captured by the dominant neo-liberal ideology within the department of
finance," Dakile said.

Dakile accused Mboweni of siding with the rich at the expense of the working class.

"We reject the user-pays principle as a funding model for the roads because in our view, the government has sufficient resources through the fuel levy," Dakile said.

He suggested that 10c of the R3.37c per litre of the fuel levy be set aside to service the e-toll debt.

"The user-pays model would suffocate our people in Gauteng and add a tax burden that would benefit foreign companies with little benefits to our economy."

Dakile said the government must develop a public transport system that benefits communities and the working class.

"The public transport system that is affordable, accessible, reliable, safe and intermodal is the only solution to the current challenges facing our economy."

Dakile said Cosatu supported the stance taken against e-tolls by the ANC in Gauteng and premier David Makhura. 

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