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Dates set for toll protests

Nov 23 2012 19:57 Sapa

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Johannesburg - A three-phase plan to protest against e-tolling will begin next week, Cosatu said on Friday.

"We will be engaging in mass action starting from November 30," Congress of SA Trade Unions' (Cosatu) Gauteng secretary Dumisani Dakile said in Johannesburg.

The march in Johannesburg would start at Mary Fitzgerald Square, in Newtown, at 9:00.

Protesters would leave the square around 11.30am and make their way to the transport and housing departments.

"We have served Nedlac [The National Economic Development and Labour Council] with the required notice to ensure that our members and the broader public are protected to participate in the action," he said.

In Pretoria, a march would start in Sophie De Bruyn Street at 9am, and would proceed to the departments of transport and finance.

More protests were planned on December 6 starting from 5:00.

"We will be closing all the major freeways in Gauteng," said Dakile.

In Ekurhuleni, Cosatu planned to close parts of the N12, N17, N3, and R21. In Tshwane, sections of the N1, N4 and the R21 would be closed.

In Johannesburg, Cosatu would target the N1, M1, M2, and N12.

"People will drive slowly on the highways... with cars, trucks, tractors, taxis and even bicycles," Dakile said.

Cosatu Gauteng chairperson Phutas Tseki said this would force motorists to use alternative routes, but that there were no suitable alternative roads.

"[Government] will realise what challenges we face."

The third phase would take place in February, with night vigils during the opening of Parliament and the provincial legislatures.

The "mother of all battles" against e-tolling would happen in March. More details would be announced later.

"We call upon government to scrap this system and find other, alternative solutions to this matter.

"We call upon our people not to buy e-tags, and those who have done so should write to the SA National Roads Agency Limited and cancel them."

Dakile also spoke about the recent demolition of houses in Lenasia.

He said Cosatu welcomed a settlement reached between the Gauteng housing department and the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Friday.

According to an agreement made in the High Court in Johannesburg, no further demolitions of illegally-built homes in Lenasia would take place until a solution was found.

The department and the SAHRC agreed to settle the matter out of court.

Judge Phineas Mojapelo granted an indefinite postponement to allow the parties to come to a "peaceful agreement" on what should be done with the houses built on land meant for government housing.

The plots were apparently fraudulently sold for amounts ranging from R2 500 to R95 000. The buyers were given forged deeds of sale bearing the department's logo.

Dakile said: "We are quite certain that this will provide space for all the parties to find a solution to the debacle, and save our government from the embarrassment it has exposed itself to."

Instead of demolishing houses in Lenasia, the e-toll gantries should be demolished.

"We should move away from Lenasia and demolish e-tolls. We won't even charge them a cent," Dakile said.
cosatu  |  e-tolls
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