Vavi ready to march against e-tolls

2012-03-01 15:12

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has echoed his calls for Gauteng motorists to boycott e-tolling and traffic fines linked to the scheme.

Vavi was briefing the media in Johannesburg after this week’s central executive committee meeting.

Vavi said the central executive committee also had a “frank and open debate about the weaknesses of Cosatu and its affiliated unions”.

“We criticised each other for not prioritising the work of the federation, and ensuring that members are serviced and that we mobilise effectively against the labour brokers.”

Cosatu takes to the streets next Wednesday to try to force government to ban labour brokers and stop the implementation of e-tolling on Gauteng’s highways.

“It’s all systems go for the biggest mass protest in years,” Vavi said, adding that Cosatu members were determined to put an end to labour broking.

“It is a practice that is nothing less than a form of human trafficking, reducing workers to commodities hired out to companies like sacks of potatoes, usually with no benefits, poverty wages and no job security.”

E-tolling was equal to the “commodification of public services”, said Vavi, who also encouraged motorists to boycott the tolls.

“These roads are national assets for the use of the people of South Africa, not a commodity that can be used to make profits at our expense. Don’t buy e-tags. Continue to use South Africa’s public roads. Don’t pay any fines.”

Cosatu criticised the culture of “innuendoes, gossip, and back-stabbing” in the ANC-led tripartite alliance, and called on members of the alliance to “step up the battle against factionalism, disunity and corruption”.

Vavi said the central executive committee held a “full and thorough” discussion of the current political situation, the state of the alliance and its three constituent structures.

“There was full agreement that 2012 will be a historic year in every respect, the most important for Cosatu and its allies since 1994.”

All three alliance partners, including the SACP, will be holding their policy and national elective congresses this year. However, its the ANC’s national congress that is the ultimate gathering of the year.

There President Jacob Zuma will aim to defeat those who don’t want him to serve a second term.

Cosatu further scoffed at the practice of public servants and their families who get corrupt tenders from government.

“We need to establish an environment in which those caught with their hands in the till will voluntarily resign, shamed by the weight of public disapproval, rather than defiantly remaining in office while the evidence against them mounts up and mobilising their troops to march to the courts in their support.”

The federation will be “constructive but critical” when engaging with the ANC leadership and refuses to allow “political paralysis” within the alliance.
Cosatu, however, pleaded with its members to refrain from debating the ANC leadership succession.

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