Cosatu tackles Ndebele over tolls

2011-08-19 14:30

Labour federation Cosatu is “absolutely incensed” by Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele’s statement that it was just a matter of time before the new Gauteng toll system was implemented.

“This is the same S’bu Ndebele who as recently as May 2011 said that following the widespread public outcry, toll fees would not be implemented without further consultation,” Cosatu’s national spokesperson Patrick Craven said.

“On May 20, the transport ministry promised ‘there will be extensive consultation before any final decision is made about the possible implementation of new toll roads’.”

Yesterday, Ndebele said if the public wanted freeways then it had to pay for them.

“If there is an outcry and people say they won’t pay tolls, then we can’t put the freeway in,” he said at a press conference in Cape Town.
‘Freeways are not free’

Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said: “Those rejecting the tolls were the worst of people who spent their money on comforts and not on essential services such as electricity.

“People buy cellphones, they pay for airtime, but when it comes to water, electricity and transport, people complain about the user-pays principle, knowing quite well that we need resources to maintain and operate this infrastructure,” the minister said.

Craven said Cosatu was appalled by the “bizarre remark”. He said: “What an insult to the millions of workers who have no alternative to using their cars to get to work because of the lack of any public transport alternative, and who now face a huge additional cost.” This is not a “comfort” but a necessity,” he said.

Cabinet approved revised tariffs for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project earlier in August.

The rates are 24c a kilometre for motorcycles, 40c/km for light motor vehicles and 200c/km for longer vehicles. Qualifying taxis and commuter buses are exempt.

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