Cosatu vows action if e-tolls are implemented

04 October 2012 - 14:46 By Sapa
Toll gantry. File photo.
Toll gantry. File photo.

Government would be "jumping the gun" if it announced e-tolling was to go ahead in Gauteng, Cosatu said on Thursday.

Should it do so, the federation's opposition campaign would shift "back into top gear", including its members taking to the streets, Congress of SA Trade Unions spokesman Patrick Craven told Sapa.

The inter-ministerial committee (IMC) on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project is set to announce on Friday exactly how e-tolling -- which has provoked massive opposition from motorists and residents of South Africa's economic heartland -- will work.

"The committee will be making an announcement on Friday, on how the e-tolls will be implemented," spokesman Thabo Masebe said on Wednesday.

"The committee has been meeting various concerned parties since last week and we are concluding discussions this week," he said.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe chairs the IMC.

Masebe said it was possible to have a solution that satisfied everyone, as the government and relevant parties were much closer after the consultations than earlier this year.

There was general agreement on the user-pays principle, he said.

On Thursday, Craven said Cosatu did not support the user-pays principle, and that e-tolls were the wrong way to raise money for the country's freeway systems.

He said a task team, set up by Cosatu and the African National Congress, was still investigating the matter.

"The absurd thing is we have a meeting with them [the IMC] tomorrow [Friday], on the same day as the announcement. Let's hope this works out... but it looks like someone has blundered," he said.

Craven repeated a call for the public not to buy e-tags, and noted there were "huge numbers of people, beyond Cosatu" who were opposed to e-tolling.

Responding to questions on what action Cosatu will take should government announce e-tolling is to go ahead, Craven said: "Our campaign of opposition will be back into top gear... we will take to the streets."

He added: "Let's hope they hold back."