Bad news for Gauteng drivers

2012-10-27 21:15

But union federation Cosatu vows to make e-tolling ‘impossible’ for government to implement

Gauteng motorists have been delivered a serious blow by government just before Christmas.

On Friday, Transport Minister Ben Martins gazetted the new e-toll tariffs and regulations, paving the way for
government to implement the controversial tolling of Gauteng’s freeways before the end of the year.

Cabinet approved the recommendations of an inter-ministerial committee, which was chaired by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, on the new tariffs on Wednesday.

The proposed e-toll tariffs have been reduced from 49.5 cents to 30 cents per kilometre for drivers of light vehicles with e-tags, and has been capped at R550 per month.

Those who do not register e-tags will pay 58 cents per kilometre.

SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) tolling and traffic manager Alex van Niekerk said only 0.2% of light-
vehicle drivers would pay the maximum rate.

The majority, 96.3% of drivers, would pay less than R300 per month for using the freeways.

He said public passenger transport and emergency vehicles would be exempted from e-tolls. Disabled people could also apply for exemption.

Trade union federation Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has called on the public to refuse to buy e-tags.

Vavi said the two-month window period for the implementation of e-tolling would give the federation enough time to mobilise opposition against it.

“We will make it impossible to implement. We are looking at starting with smaller demonstrations,” Vavi said.

According to him, workers would use public hearings as “mobilisation points”, and Cosatu would encourage workers to make submissions in big numbers.

The exemption of public transport from tolling was insufficient as only 2% of taxis and buses used highways, he said. “So it is a very clever manoeuvre by the government. It means nothing in practical terms.”

Cosatu was also consulting with the National Economic Development and Labour Council about reviving its earlier strike notice, or applying for a new one.

The federation’s general strike was halted in April, when the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria put a stay
on e-tolling.

Vavi said his organisation did not believe that government would take people who make submissions seriously.

“We think it’s a farce and pretence. Their mind is already made up,” he said.

But Martins said government would give serious consideration to issues raised by the public during the consultation process.

“The fees are not carved in stone,” he said.


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