Gauteng tolls move a 'significant victory'

2012-01-13 22:30
Johannesburg - The postponement of the introduction of e-tolling on Gauteng roads was welcomed on Friday by Cosatu, transport workers and the Democratic Alliance.

It was a "significant victory" for millions of Gauteng residents who had expressed opposition to the attempt to force them to pay just to travel on the province's highways, said Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) spokesperson Patrick Craven.

The SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) announced earlier in the day that e-tolling had been placed on hold following its meeting on Thursday with Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele.

It was victory for the poor and working class, said Satawu national spokesperson Mamokgethi Rea Molopyane.

DA spokesman Neil Campbell said the system was "unjust" and would have failed because of boycotts.

The justice system would failed to cope with the huge volume of prosecutions of motorists who refused to pay toll fees, he added.

Sanral announced this week that 212 000 e-toll accounts had been registered for the first phase of the controversial Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).

These e-toll tags would have become operational at the Bakwena toll plaza from February.

On Friday Sanral chairperson Tembakazi Mnyaka said it was decided at Thursday's meeting that Sanral would investigate further and produce a report for Ndebele which would then be presented to the Cabinet.

The board was committed to exploring different avenues to meet the obligations of stakeholders.

Light motor vehicles using Gauteng's toll roads would have been charged R0.40/km, medium vehicles R1/km, "longer" vehicles R2/km, and bikers R0.24/km. Qualifying commuter taxis and buses would have been exempted entirely.

Cosatu said it would continue to urge motorists not to register with Sanral or to buy e-tags.

"Our members remain mobilised for a campaign of mass action if the decision is reversed," said Craven.

The DA said it was "not surprised" by Sanral's decision, as the agency had not done its homework and there had been insufficient public consultation.

Satawu called on the government to prioritise public transport instead of "being obsessed with elite projects that enriched a few at the expense of the majority".

GFIP phase one cost R20 billion to complete. Most of the cost was financed from loans.

A number of petitions were handed to Ndebele, including one from the Freedom Front, and a joint petition from Cosatu, the SA National Civic Organisation, the SA National NGO Coalition, Satawu and the DA.

- SAPA
Read more on:    cosatu  |  da  |  ff plus  |  sanral  |  sibusiso ndebele  |  satawu  |  johannesburg  |  tolls
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