SACP wants unity in anti-toll fight

2012-05-01 20:13
Cape Town - The SA Communist Party wants the tripartite alliance to unite in the fight against toll highways to avoid abandoning the issue to "essentially right-wing, middle-class interest groups".

The party said in a May Day statement on Tuesday that there was a risk that the e-tolling issues could be hijacked by the Democratic Alliance, AfriForum and the Automobile Association.

"The delay gives us some more space as the tripartite alliance to find a united way forward," the party said.

"It is absolutely essential that we do now unite ourselves - otherwise we will abandon this issue to the DA, AfriForum, the Automobile Association and other essentially right-wing, middle-class interest groups."


The idea of a multi-billion rand widening and expanding of the freeway system in Gauteng was first pushed in the early 2000s by a group of former ANC Gauteng politicians, the party said.

These politicians, whom the party did not name, were in league with narrow empowerment entrepreneurs and "big capital".

It was "basically the same group" who also pushed for the multi-billion rand Gautrain project.

"Most of the former ANC Gauteng leaders involved in these projects were part and parcel of the 1996 class project. Some of them went on to join Cope (Congress of the People).

"Neither the Gautrain nor the Freeway Project were concerned with addressing the transport problems confronting the working class and poor in Gauteng."

The Gautrain, which cost R27bn, does not go anywhere near any of the major townships of Gauteng - Soweto, Orange Farm, Mamelodi or Shoshanguve.

When the train does come close to a Tembisa or an Alexandra "it does its best to skip around them".

"It is focused on white suburbs and business districts," the SACP said.

It was “essentially the same group of tenderpreneurs” who championed the Gautrain project who also championed the Gauteng e-toll project.

Not the same objections

The SACP and Cosatu's objections to the e-toll freeway project were not the same as those of the DA, AfriForum or the car-hire companies.

“The DA and its friends are not objecting to the fact that R20bn of our scarce public resources have been spent on their Gauteng infrastructure.

"They just don’t want to pay for it themselves.”

The e-toll project has also weakened the power of elected politicians in favour of hundreds of “quasi-public stand-alone agencies” like the SA National Road Agency Limited.

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