Public hearings over Gauteng tollgates met with a protest

2011-11-11 11:20

Public hearings on the Gauteng highway tollgates started with a protest march in Johannesburg today.

The march was led by DA demonstrators chanting struggle songs praising their leader Helen Zille and carrying placards reading: “Hoot for a toll-free Gauteng.”

Motorists passing the corner of Harrison and President streets enthusiastically hooted in response.

Today was the first day of the public hearings being held at the Johannesburg City Hall.

The demonstrators also handed out flyers giving 10 reasons to join the opposition party in its campaign for a toll-free province.

These included the high prices of the tolls, possible job losses as a result of rising business costs because of the tolls, and no reliable public transport alternatives.

The crowd gathered outside the Gauteng legislature buildings in Johannesburg.

Part of President street near the intersection with Harrison street was blocked off as a safety precaution, said Johannesburg metro police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar.

E-toll account registration and e-tag distribution for the first phase of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project was expected to start on Monday, the SA National Roads Agency Limited said earlier in the week.

The e-tolls for Bakwena toll plazas are expected to be operational from February.

Qualifying public transport vehicles will be exempt from the toll.

For private motorists, however, light motor vehicles will pay R0.40/km, medium vehicles R1/km, “longer” vehicles R2/km and bikers R0.24/km.

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