State jumping e-toll gun – Cosatu

2012-10-04 10:35

Government would be “jumping the gun” if it announced e-tolling was to go ahead in Gauteng, trade-union federation Cosatu has said.

Should it do so, the federation’s opposition campaign would shift “back into top gear”, including its members taking to the streets, Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said.

The inter-ministerial committee (IMC) on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project is set to announce tomorrow exactly how e-tolling – which has provoked massive opposition from motorists and residents of South Africa’s economic heartland – will work.

“The committee will be making an announcement on Friday [tomorrow], on how the e-tolls will be implemented,” spokesperson Thabo Masebe said yesterday.

“The committee has been meeting various concerned parties since last week and we are concluding discussions this week,” he said.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe chairs the IMC.

Masebe said it was possible to have a solution that satisfied everyone, as the government and relevant parties were much closer after the consultations than earlier this year.

There was general agreement on the user-pays principle, he said.

Yesterday, Craven said Cosatu did not support the user-pays principle, and that e-tolls were the wrong way to raise money for the country’s freeway systems.

He said a task team, set up by Cosatu and the ANC, was still investigating the matter.

“The absurd thing is we have a meeting with them [the IMC] tomorrow, on the same day as the announcement. Let’s hope this works out ... but it looks like someone has blundered,” he said.

Craven repeated a call for the public not to buy e-tags, and noted there were “huge numbers of people, beyond Cosatu” who were opposed to e-tolling.

Responding to questions on what action Cosatu will take should government announce e-tolling is to go ahead, Craven said: “Our campaign of opposition will be back into top gear ... we will take to the streets.”

He added: “Let’s hope they hold back.”

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