Cosatu demands clarity on e-tolling
Johannesburg - Cosatu has asked Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele to shed light on whether his statement to halt work on toll roads included scrapping the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Plan (GFIP), or whether it only applies to future toll roads.
Gauteng e-tolling is scheduled to start in February.
The Gauteng legislature, which is organising hearings on November 11, said: "various organisations representing thousands of workers, communities and political parties... have submitted petitions on the current tolling system within the province.
“Concerns raised about these toll gates are centred on affordability to those using them, as well as lack of consultation during the preconstruction phases... Gauteng legislature believes that it is through this process that parties will begin finding a solution to the toll gates impasse in the province."
There will however be no solution to the impasse if objectors at the hearings are told the current tolling project is going ahead anyway, and they can only raise issues about future tolling plans, in which case this hearing will be a futile exercise.
The labour union federation said it would insist at the hearings that e-tolling had never been properly debated.
The tolls will mean a steep increase in the cost of living of all road users, especially workers who have no alternative but to drive to work because of the lack of a proper public transport system.
They already pay taxes and a fuel levy every time they buy petrol, the federation argued.
Cosatu issued a notice under Section 77 of the Labour Relations Act and negotiations are continuing under the auspices of National Economic Development and Labour Council.
"If there is no change in policy from government and the negotiations deadlock, we shall be planning marches, demonstrations, pickets and stay-aways, and taking strike action if the tolls are not scrapped," it said.