Cosatu threatens toll protests

2011-05-16 14:46

Labour federation Cosatu today threatened protests if its demands for talks about the proposed Gauteng toll fees were not met.

It submitted a notice for consultation to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) under the Labour Relations Act.

“SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) says that there was consultation before Cabinet approved the plan in 2007. For us the consultation proper should have happened at Nedlac. This matter had not been discussed there,” Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said.

It called for “proper consultation” at Nedlac on provision of an integrated, reliable and safe public transport system.

“Should there be no progress in addressing the challenges raised in this application, Cosatu shall have no option but to mobilise it members for a protest which will take the form marches, demonstrations, pickets and stay-aways,” Craven said.

The Gauteng toll fees were set at R0.66/km before a public outcry led to them being put on hold and a committee formed to reassess the pricing.

The tolls form part of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, which involved widening roads, easing congestion and improving lighting. Managed by Sanral, it aimed to upgrade 560km of roads in the province.

Cosatu lamented the creation of more tolls on South Africa’s roads as it made it costly for South Africans to travel. It called instead for “an integrated, safe, reliable and affordable public transport system for the country”.

He said the tolling system would have a negative effect on job creation.

“The reality is that transport is the lifeblood of commerce and industry. Accordingly, an increase in transport costs tends to have a knock-on-effect on the economy as a whole. We know from experience that workers would be the victims of retrenchments if firms see their profit margins affected negatively.”

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