Cosatu threatens strike over tolls
Johannesburg - Cosatu in Gauteng is planning a strike and stayaway over the imminent introduction of additional toll fees in the province, it said on Friday.
"The PEC (provincial executive committee) has resolved to fight tooth and nail this system called toll gates," said provincial secretary Dumisani Dakile.
The announcement of the tolling system in Gauteng sparked a public outcry, with consumer groups and unions saying the poor would be hit hardest.
Dakile announced a "programme of action" to deal with the e-toll system, to be implemented later this year.
Cosatu would submit a Section 77 or strike notice to the National Economic Development and Labour Council on February 28.
Negotiations would then start.
It would call for a public march on March 12, a mass demonstration on all Gauteng highways on March 19 and a public meeting on March 26.
The federation would also call for a stayaway on April 8.
"We will also engage with the department of roads and transport, the premier and also within the alliance to reverse the ill-informed decision without consulting our people," he said.
Dakile said Cosatu had approached its alliance partner, the ANC, in November last year to be briefed on the tolling system.
"They also responded that they had never been briefed," he said.
The ANC and Cosatu then approached the department of transport in the province and were then updated on the implementation of the tolling system.
"They did not consult with Cosatu or even the ANC itself," he said.
However, he added that the Gauteng ANC's response to the tolling system fell short of rejecting it entirely. The ANC's provincial secretary David Makhura has described the likely impact of the tolling system as "disastrous".
Turning to Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele's comments on the system (he urged those who did not like it to use public transport), Dakile said Ndebele should experience public transport for a month to give him a "better understanding" of the hardships faced by most South Africans.
"The trains are always late and in some instances do not arrive at all.
"The introduction of the Gautrain in the province will not resolve the crisis, nor is the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system capable in its current form to address such a crisis," he said.
"Gauteng does not have a public transport system that is reliable, safe or affordable."
Earlier this month, the SA National Roads Agency said motorists could expect to pay 66 cents per kilometre before discounts when travelling on the 185km tolled freeway network.
Motorists who purchased the e-tag system would pay 49.5c/km, while medium-sized vehicles with the e-tag system will be charged R1.49 a kilometre. Heavy duty vehicles with an e-tag will be charged R2.97 per kilometre.
Motorists would get further discounts depending on when they used the highway and on whether they were frequent users.
Users of the 185km system would not have to stop at a traditional toll booth but drive under gantries, fitted with electronic equipment and cameras, which photograph the vehicle's number plate and measure its size.
Gantries are positioned between 5km and 14 km apart - an average of 10km.
I will join in!!!!!!!!!!!!! This toll system is going to have such a negative effect on my little business.
i say lets trike, then they'll see that what they are doing is not write
Go for it as we the workers are always robbed off our monies.
For the 1st time in my life I find myself agreeing with Cosatu, when is the march and where are the blockades? I'm there! Just please don't back down if they offer to lower the prices as they will just be put up again. We pay the fuel levy already, the gvmt must pick, fuel levy or tolls, they can't have both!
At a glance,this new tolling system is going to do nothing but make our lives a living nightmare. The only reason why sanral officials are not complaining or trying to make it cheaper is because us, the public, are probably going to be paying for them to use the roads. I cannot honestly see that the government officials are also going to pay to use the roads as well.
This is a total rip off from the government and it should not be left unchallenged by all civil society. Our problems as South Africans is that we rely on certain lobby groups to toyi toyi and challenge the governemt for us. Now is the time where we should all get together regardless of where we come from or associate with and say enough is enough. i will definitely be at the march.
For the first time ever I agree with Cosatu. Good luck. This issue amongst others has definitely made my mind up for who I will be voting in the local government elections.
WE NEED TO GET A LAWSUITE GOING ,MAYBE COSATU COULD ASSIST HERE,EACH WORKING PERSON PAYS RI00xSAY 10 MILLION PEOPLE = R1 BILLION THAT SHOULD BE ENOUGH, THEN WE TAKE GOVERNEMNT TO COURT AND LET IT DRAG ON FOR YEARS AS ALL CASES IN OUR COURTS TAKE SO LONG ANY WAY,THEN WE CAN JUST APPEAL AGAIN IF WE LOSE AND THAT WILL DELAY IT AGAIN, THIS WOULD BE THE BEST WAY, BY THEN 2013 MAYBE ALL THESE CORRUPT POLITICIANS WILL BE LOCKED UP UNDER THE NEW DA LEAD GOVERNMENT.
I find it very strange that the ANC claims to not have been briefed on a R20bn expenditure which obviously had to be budgeted for and approved. Either the ANC is lying, or Dakile is lying about them not having been briefed or this article is lying. Irrespective of who is lying I fully support the strike and protest action against this clear example of mismanagement and disregard for South Africans. I always thought that SARS was very effective - why does the Government need to waste R20bn just to collect more taxes? But then again, why do we need to pay more taxes for freeway projects which are meant to be funded from our existing taxes. So is the Government going to drop the fuel levy proportionally? How many years will it take for the new toll system to pay itself off before any money is available for maintenance on the freeways, 5 years, 8 years, 10 years? A reduction in the toll rates could possibly push it up to 15 years. The R20bn could have been used to maintain the freeways for the next couple of years as opposed to going to pay for a fancy toll system. Clearly a waste of money and mismanagement.
I'll be joining in on 19th March - let's UNITE!