Johannesburg - Cosatu threatened mass action on Thursday
against e-tolling in Gauteng after the Constitutional Court overturned an
interdict to halt the project.
"We are going to resist it with every power we
have," Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima
Vavi told reporters on the sidelines of Cosatu's 11th national congress in
"Cosatu remains absolutely determined to oppose the
tolls at the street level. The mobilisation... is not over.
"The call we want to make to workers and all of the people
who supported us in opposition to the e-tolls is not to drop your guards. We
need your energy and your unity more than (at) any other time before," he
Vavi said Cosatu was not surprised by the court's decision.
"Our objection to the introduction of e-tolls in
Gauteng was never based on whether they are legal or not," he said.
"It was a political decision to oppose what we regarded
as a move to privatise the roads and to use the user-pay principle on the poor
in a manner that sidelines them and forces them onto the potholed roads that
are used by the municipalities."
He said the government needed to wait for talks between
concerned parties and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to find
"alternative means" to pay back debt incurred in the construction of
the roads, before implementing the tolls.
"In our view, it would be a huge mistake by government
if it was to steam ahead on the basis of the Constitutional Court judgment and
implement what we all know is an extremely unpopular policy decision,"
"There will be no e-tolling. The programme of action
that we will be announcing this afternoon (at the congress) includes the fact
that we will oppose the tolling of the roads in Gauteng."
He said the tolling could possibly be implemented in other
"This is the first step, this will go everywhere if the
government succeeds to ram it down the throats of the people of Gauteng."
The Constitutional Court set aside an interim order that put
Gauteng's e-tolls on hold on Thursday.
"The interim order granted by the high court of 28
April, 2012, is set aside," said Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke.
This was because the high court had not considered the
separation of powers between the court and the executive.
The High Court in Pretoria granted the Opposition to Urban
Tolling Alliance (Outa) an interdict on April 28, ruling that a full review
needed to be carried out before electronic tolling of Gauteng's highways could
be put into effect.
The interdict prevented the SA National Roads Agency Limited
(Sanral) from levying or collecting e-tolls pending the outcome of the review.
Sanral and National Treasury appealed the court order, and
said delays prevented the payment of debts incurred building gantries.
Reading the unanimous judgment, Moseneke said the separation
of powers was vital to South Africa's constitutional democracy.
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