Cosatu’s Kopano won’t pay back e-tolled road’s profits

2012-04-26 13:33

Cosatu’s investment arm, Kopano ke Matla, won’t refund the profits it had made from the construction of the R21, which is now being tolled to pay for the construction, Cosatu secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi has said.

Vavi said this would not happen as the companies that had tendered to build the road were not aware that the government would later erect gantries for e-tolls.

City Press previously reported that the ANC had confronted Cosatu with evidence that Kopano ke Matla had benefited from the improvement of Gauteng’s freeways through the consortium, Raubex.

Cosatu subsequently ordered the management of Kopano to withdraw investment in any project that involves the provision and privatisation of public services.

Asked whether Kopano would refund the profits, Vavi said: “There is nowhere in the tender document where it is written that once this road has been done there will be another process to tender for the building of e-tolls (gantries) on the same road.

“The dilemma of then going back to say we are conflicted, is what if government decides to put up gantries on other roads that Raubex has already built? Can we go back and say now that because government has decided to put up gates, repay?”

Vavi today urged the public to make e-tolling “unworkable” by not signing up for e-tags ahead of the start of tolling some of Gauteng’s highways on Monday.

The leadership of the labour federation is due to meet the ANC leadership over e-tolling and its demand for a ban on labour brokers.

The previous meeting, held a few weeks ago, set up a task team to explore alternative funding for future freeway improvements. However, the ANC resisted Cosatu’s calls for the scrapping of e-tolling.

Vavi said although Monday’s strike has been called off because of the application for an interdict to prevent the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) from implementing e-tolls next week, mass action would still go ahead in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, the North West and the Western Cape.

He said going ahead with the unpopular programme in the face of the public outcry would be a “political blunder”.

“The ANC is a mass-based political party, not some fish and chips formation that doesn’t care about political opinion. It does care and has to care ... about political opinion. That’s what our discussion is all about,” Vavi said.

Cosatu also denied that the ANC leadership succession contest had divided it or its unions.

Vavi said the federation would not endorse a candidate for ANC leadership in Mangaung as it had done in the build-up to the 2007 conference in Polokwane.

“Cosatu will not be won over by any fact. It will not endorse any person, unless the central executive committee decides otherwise,” he said.

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