Johannesburg - The implementation of the e-tolling system on Gauteng's
highways was postponed for a month by the transport department and SA
National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) on Thursday.
The announcement was made by transport director general
George Mahlalela, just hours after the African National Congress and
the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said they would ask the
government for a month-long delay.
E-tolling was to have been implemented on 185 kilometres of highway in Gauteng on Monday.
In a statement on Thursday night, the department said its implementation was being postponed until May 30.
This was to "finalise regulations following input on
regulatory and administrative issues from the public and interested
Welcoming the decision, the ANC said it showed leadership and responsiveness by the government.
"It is encouraging to us that we live in a democracy
where these issues can be thoroughly debated and discussed," added
Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven.
The High Court in Pretoria is to rule at 11am on
Saturday on an urgent interdict to stop the implementation of the
The application was brought by the Opposition to Urban
Tolling Alliance. There are seven respondents, including the transport
department, Sanral and the National Treasury. the Congress of SA Trade
Unions has an observer present.
Earlier, Cosatu and the ANC said they had agreed to the delay in talks on Thursday.
"The leadership has collectively agreed to postpone the
implementation of the e-toll collection system by a month," they said
in a statement.
"This will give the task team more time to explore
alternative funding mechanisms." Cosatu general-secretary Zwelinzima
Vavi told reporters on Thursday that the entire central executive
committee of Cosatu was united against e-tolling. "There is not a single
dissenting voice," he said.
He said e-tolls would represent a huge additional
burden on all motorists, particularly workers who had no choice but to
use cars to get to and from work because of a lack of reliable and safe
Cosatu has postponed a general strike against e-tolling planned for Monday.
The delay would give it time to assess the success of resistance to e-tolling, and any future legal action.
Other mass action planned for Monday, including a
highway blockade in Johannesburg, would go ahead, Vavi said, Speaking
after a special meeting of Cosatu's executive, Vavi said the blockade of
four tollgates at Middelburg and Nkomazi, in Mpumulanga, would form
part of the mass action on Monday.
In North West, a demonstration was being planned at Swartruggens plaza.
On Tuesday, a march would take place from the May Day rally at Good Hope Centre to the Cape Chamber of Commerce.
Vavi said Cosatu's executive was opposed to what he described as the "commodification" of South Africa's public road network.