Johannesburg - People
should not buy e-tags and should protest against the implementation of
e-tolls to ensure the government listens, the SA Municipal Workers'
Union (Samwu) said on Friday.
"This union strongly believes that the pressure of the
masses is crucial to forcing government to back down on this blatant
extortion," spokesperson Tahir Sema said in a statement.
"We will aim to make the tolls uncollectable and force
the government and SA National Roads' Agency (Sanral) to find
more equitable ways to pay for road improvements."
Earlier, it was announced that a meeting between the
inter-ministerial committee on e-tolling and Cosatu, chaired by Deputy
President Kgalema Motlanthe, would convene again next week.
"The meeting [on Friday] agreed that more time was
needed for both parties to consider the proposals on the table,"
Motlanthe's spokesperson Thabo Masebe said in a statement.
Motlanthe led the government delegation and Congress of
SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) president Sidumo Dlamini the labour
delegations at the meeting at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
It followed a July 20 consultation.
The IMC had been expected to announce its plans on Friday for implementing e-tolling in Gauteng.
However, Masebe said this would be delayed because the IMC needed time to discuss the issues raised.
Cosatu has mounted a campaign against e-tolling, which
it believes is the wrong way to raise money to maintain the country's
The government's plans to introduce e-tolling in
Gauteng have provoked opposition by motorists and residents of South
Africa's economic heartland.
Sema said the government should scrap the e-toll project.
"Government must investigate as to who was responsible
for steam-rolling these projects past all the relevant processes. This,
for us, is highly suspicious, given the amounts of money involved in the
various toll road projects."
The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) said it
was clear the government intended to launch e-tolling in Gauteng before
a court review took place.
This was judging by the comments made by the transport
minister urging the public to buy e-tags this week, it said in a
Outa was expecting the IMC to announce it was reducing the e-toll tariff and the capped maximum charge.
Chairman Wayne Duvenage said: They [will] go on the charm offensive to woo the public into believing this is the best option.
"We also believe their announcement will include the
acceptance of e-tolling by a few entities that were originally opposed
to the plan."
Outa rejected e-tolling under the "user-pays" principle.
Cliff Johnston of the SA National Consumer Union said
the collection costs and the burden placed on society were independent
of the amount charged per kilometre.
Road users would still have to foot a bill of more than
R1.1bn a year just to cover the electronic toll collection
Automobile Association spokesman Gary Ronald said it
was worrying that the ETC [Electronic Toll Collection] contracts
remained confidential. They should be made public for the citizens who
would be paying the toll fees.
The Justice Project SA said it supported Outa.
"JPSA... remains vehemently opposed to this ludicrously
costly and inefficient way of collecting funding and paying for
infrastructure in our country, effectively privatising public roads and
enriching Austrian-based Kapsch TrafficCom," chairman Howard Dembovsky
said in a statement.
There was a risk that the e-toll fees could escalate
out of control as had happened with other state-owned enterprises, such
as Eskom, he said.