Cosatu delays toll strike

By Drum Digital
26 April 2012

Cosatu has postponed its general strike against e-tolling, pending the outcome of a court action and its meeting with the ruling party on the matter.

Other mass action planned for April 30, including a highway blockade in Johannesburg, would go ahead, Congress of SA Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi told reporters on Thursday.

The delay in the strike was to give the union federation time to assess the success of resistance to e-tolling -- "and any future legal action that Cosatu or others may take".

The strike was initially planned for April 30 when e-tolling on Gauteng's freeways is scheduled to kick in.

A civil society coalition, Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa), has launched a court action to prevent Sanral from introducing tolling as planned.

Vavi told reporters after a special meeting of Cosatu's executive the blockade of four tollgates at Middelburg and Nkomazi in Mpumulanga would form part of the April 30 mass action.

In North West, a demonstration was being planned at Swartruggens plaza.

On May 1, a march would take place from the May Day rally at Good Hope Centre to the Cape Chamber of Commerce.

Cosatu and the African National Congress would meet later on Thursday to discuss the toll plans.

Vavi said Cosatu's executive was opposed to what he described as the "commodification" of South Africa's public road network.

"This will represent a huge additional burden on all motorists but particularly on workers, who have no choice but to use their cars to get to and from work because of the lack of a reliable and safe public transport system."

He said the entire central executive committee of Cosatu was united against e-tolling.

"There is not a single dissenting voice," he said.

"I am urging all members of the public not to buy e-tags. Make the whole system unworkable," he said.

Vavi said SA National Roads Agency had no way of enforcing the e-toll system.

"They will not be able to stop our cars. They are not police officers... This whole thing is a mess."

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