Cosatu to protest against 'privatisation of highways'

2013-10-11 17:41

Cosatu is set to embark on a one-day protest against e-tolling to voice its opposition against government’s decision to implement its unpopular policy in Gauteng.

Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini said the ruling of the Supreme Court of Appeal, which dismissed the appeal against e-tolling by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance, will not make a difference to the federation’s decisions to oppose what he described as the privatisation of public highways.

It is not clear yet when the protest will take place.

The decision to toll Gauteng’s freeways pits Cosatu against the ANC at a time when the two political allies are preparing for next year’s elections.

Cosatu second deputy president Zingisa Losi said levying tolls before there is a proper public transport system was akin to “putting the cart before the horse”.

“Hence Cosatu will continue to oppose e-tolls until government puts together a public transport system that is integrated for the ordinary South African to be able to access and arrive at their destination safely,” she said.

Losi said the system would not be viable if ordinary citizens refused to buy e-tags, rather than shout from the sidelines.

However, Losi said the issue would not affect Cosatu’s relationship with the ANC as it was a “strategic alliance” in which allies are independent of each another. Meanwhile, Losi is still facing suspension from the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), where she is a shopsteward. Dlamini had written to Numsa’s national leadership requesting it to explain the suspension, which could see Losi return to her full-time job as a quality inspector at a car factory. However, Numsa’s nation leaders said they were not aware of the reasons as the decision had been taken by the local branch in Port Elizabeth.

Dlamini said the correspondence suggested that Losi was facing suspension for articulating Cosatu positions as its deputy president, not what she had done as a shopsteward.

“We are awaiting further clarity from Numsa. And we will have a further discussion to say what is the approach when a national office bearer of Cosatu is alleged to have conducted herself in a particular way at union level or local level. We must have that discussion. We will have to respond to the letter,” he said.

He said the letter from the local branch was withdrawn by Numsa’s local branch, but reinstated by the regional leadership.

A letter written by the Port ELizabeth regional leadership of Numsa to Losi’s employer yesterday suggests that there is a “prima facie case (against Losi) that requires investigation”.

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