Immoral e-tolling perpetuates social inequality – Cosatu

2014-08-27 15:59

E-tolling is one of the most immoral projects undertaken since the arms deal, says Cosatu.

“This matter touches on the core of governance. This matter touches on the core of leadership,” Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) provincial secretary Dumisani Dakile told the advisory panel on the socioeconomic impact of e-tolls in Midrand, Johannesburg, today.

Dakile, before beginning his presentation, was critical of the panel’s terms of reference, saying they were too narrow.

“We would have loved the terms of reference to be expanded,” he said.

“Our members have been asking how many panels are we going to. This is not the first one.”

Dakile said “absolutely everything’s wrong” with e-tolls.

“E-tolls will add to the burden of the poor, who will be forced to pay more to travel on highways that were previously free of charge,” he said.

“This thing will perpetuate exclusion in society ... those that are able to afford [e-tolls] precisely because of their income ... that income itself clearly reflects inequality in society.”

Gauteng is Africa’s fourth-largest economy, and the effect of e-tolls will be felt beyond that of the pockets of those living in the province.

“These [e-toll] roads are not killing Gauteng. They are killing the country,” said Dakile.

“There is no company that will swallow this thing. They will pass it on to the workers.”

He said South Africa had no public transport system, rather a commuter system. Current alternatives, such as taxi, bus and train services, were not reliable, safe or efficient.

“If I’m at work today, there is no guarantee I will be at work tomorrow,” he said.

Registered taxis were also supposed to be exempt from e-tolls but have been expected to cough up too.

“They [taxi operators] will come and tell you there are the bills they are receiving. This department of transport is chaos at best. They can’t issue permits,” said Dakile.

The panel will focus on the implications and perceptions of financing the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project and e-tolls.

The panel is expected to report to premier David Makhura at the end of November.

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