E-toll protesters converge on Gauteng highway
A camel joined caravaners and motorcyclists at the Ultra City on the N1 highway between Pretoria and Johannesburg Thursday morning ahead of a protest against electronic tolling.
The protest was organised by the Freedom Front Plus, the National Taxpayers' Union, the SA Caravan Association and various motorbike clubs.
Johann van der Merwe, also known as ‘Mal Jan’, from Jacaranda 94.2's breakfast show, arrived at the garage on the highway in Centurion dressed in Saudi Arabian attire riding the camel.
He said he had heard about the caravans coming and brought his camel for water, but did not know what the protest was about.
Police were on hand to escort the convoy down the highway towards Johannesburg. The protest was expected to start at 7am, and interrupt peak hour traffic.
FF Plus spokesman Anton Alberts on Thursday morning said the idea behind the protest was to make sure that a "certain section" of the population was heard, not just the Congress of SA Trade Unions.
"There are certain organisations and sections of the population who are still unhappy with the tolling system and we also want to encourage other sections of the population, other political parties and civil organisations to come out and hold various actions on their own," he said.
"Collectively these actions send a very strong message to Parliament and government that this system is immoral and unacceptable."
Alberts said it imposed an additional tax on people, who could not afford it anymore.
"People pay enough taxes. If you see how much taxes are wasted because of corruption, we are talking about R20 billion a year. If that problem is tackled in a very extensive and comprehensive manner, that saving could have paid for these roads, and they wouldn't need to impose a new tax."
Alberts said it was the start of a series of protests which would happen throughout April.
He said only two caravans would be used during the protest because they didn't want to obstruct traffic too much.