Protesters cuffed to Chappies toll plaza

2012-02-15 14:24

Cape Town - Protesters handcuffed themselves to scaffolding on the construction site of a toll booth on scenic Chapman's Peak drive, on Table Mountain, on Tuesday.

Workers in hard hats sat idly as the two protesters and a hunger striker negotiated with Hector Eliott, the Western Cape's transport and public works department head.

"We can build something that is less expensive and more environmentally friendly," Bronwyn Lankaers-Byrne, who has been on an 11-day hunger strike against the R54m toll plaza, told Eliott.

"I am willing to leave when these workers down their tools and there is a serious discussion," she said.

Lankaers-Byrne pointed to a diagram of a far smaller and "more environmentally friendly" toll booth which she said could be constructed for a mere R2m.

"The alternative is less expensive and more environmentally friendly. This is not necessary."

She said the public had shown overwhelming support for the protest against the toll booth by donating money, flowers and even massage oil.

‘Sales pitch’

She said "94%" of the people who had stopped to speak to her supported the protest.

Eliott told Lankaers-Byrne the department was prepared to look at the R2m proposal.

"This is a sales pitch, this is what this boils down to," he said.

Fiona Hinds, who had handcuffed herself to the scaffolding, said she would remain where she was every day if necessary.

"They know what they're doing is illegal," said Hinds, who sat above a placard reading: "Over My Dead Body".

"This site is part of a United Nations World Heritage Site. The UN has asked for Table Mountain to be taken care of, but here we are allowing them to put up an offensive building.

"Cape Town has been named as the World Design Capital in 2014. We can do better than this."

  • Marion - 2012-02-15 14:38

    I don't live in Cape Town but I cannot understand why they cannot just erect a toll plaza at one end of the drive - or even at both ends.

      camp.j - 2012-02-15 15:15

      WTF? It took me 2 minutes to read the article and so far it's taken me 15 minutes to try and understand this comment? :)))

      Marion - 2012-02-15 15:28

      I understood what I was trying to say even if you didn't...

      Gerhard - 2012-02-15 15:39

      Marion is there anything left without paying 5 times for it out of your own salary?

      Chris - 2012-02-15 15:42

      @Marion, it's not a toll plaza they're erecting. It's a 30 million rand, multi storey building with an entertainment area so that the execs that operate the toll road can throw parties while overlooking the Atlantic ocean... that's what all the fuss is about.

      Marion - 2012-02-15 15:52

      I understand that the thing everyone's concerned about is the posh office block being built in the quarry. But everything I have read on the subject calls that very same office block the Chapmans Peak Toll which has led me to believe the actual toll 'booth' will be smack bang in the middle of the drive. So I was just trying to say that if they have to build a toll, for whatever reason, then why not build a toll booth (not an office block which appears to be excessive in the extreme) at the north and south end of the route? In retrospect I agree that I didn't make any sense when I said build it at one end or... I don't live in Cape Town, have only been on Chapmans Peak once in my entire life so have no real recollection of what it is except that it was spectacular. I would hate to see it destroyed for commercial reasons.

  • jaz82 - 2012-02-15 14:38

    Someone needs to give that lady some sun block tho, that is a long chill in the sun

      Brett - 2012-02-15 14:40

      And a roll of toilet paper...

  • dlawre30 - 2012-02-15 15:08

    I think this just shows that everybody has had enough. Yes the environmentalists have a point and are making themselves heard. It's up to each individual how you voice your opinion over issues. This type of thing happens all over the world. One thing I can say is that it is not a violent protest, no damaging proerty or digging up roads and destrying infrastruture.

  • Pieter - 2012-02-15 15:22

    The issue isn't merely an environmental one. This toll plaza is once again an overpriced white elephant that we have to pay for. There is not enough traffic over this pass to justify spending this much money.

      Marion - 2012-02-15 15:58

      I just checked out the toll fees and based on them I reckon the traffic will be even less in future...

      Gerhard - 2012-02-15 16:03

      Not enough traffic to justify the cost? That is where your problem lies, you are trying to use logic and business sense. It's not about it being able to pay for itself, it's about the company that gets awarded the tender to build it. Come now DA, aren't you in charge of this province? Or are you going ANC on us?

      philip.bromley - 2012-02-15 20:17

      Gerhard, go into the history of this situation. The ANC awarded a contract which was ill considered and in fact paid the operator to keep the route closed, thus Chapmans peak for many years was closed to all vehicles. Two Oceans and Argus had to take alternative routes. The DA then came in and had to renegotiate a legitimate contract with the owners of the concession and had to come up with a suitable compromise, saving thye taxpayers as much money as possible, whilst opening one of the prettiest drives in the country. Whilst I do believe debate is necessary, if we do not have any regard to the rule of contract law and the rights of commercial owners (In this case its M&R who I think regret inheriting the mess) to their rights the country will slide into an even larger abyss. Its a complex issue that requires compromise from all parties.

  • Brett - 2012-02-15 15:44

    @Sputnik I will try get a veggie burger for her.

  • Emma - 2012-02-15 15:48

    R54 million??? What the hell is this thing??? Africa's Playboy Mansion pretending to be a toll gate? What's wrong with what they have now? It worked the last time I saw it. Stupid waste of money. Cretinous extravagant ministers. Puke

  • hudds - 2012-02-15 16:04

    Western Cape hippies.. typical!!

  • jeremy002 - 2012-02-15 17:48

    Why on earth have we even gotten down to accepting some sort of toll at all, anywhere? Am I the only person in SA who feels that no more toll booths should be built anywhere, and all existing ones should be bulldozed immediately? Good grief people, we are slowly being strangled. Let them stop misapropriating all levies for roads included in the fuel price, use said monies for roads, and stop conning us left right and centre!!! These tolls are a disease, spreading fast, and going up in price all the time - especially the private sector ones - plenty of profit there, when it should be non-profit. They have shareholders who demand a return on their investment. Why on public roads????

      berni.venter - 2012-02-15 17:58

      100 thumbs up Jeremy. The huge levies are being spent on goodness knows what, but not the roads!

  • Patsy - 2012-02-15 20:25

    Greed!!!!! Ruin everything for greed. This is a world heritage site how can a toll booth abomination be allowed? Where will the money go?

  • amanda - 2012-02-15 22:47

    Go Bronwyn, we the locals are supporting you all the way. Sies on Helen Zille and Patricia de Lille. Very disappointed in you. The land on which the office building will be located was transferred from the Labia family to san Parks in October 2006. Conditions that the land was sold to San Parks was that it be utilised soley for the purposes of nature conservation. Helen Zille you even cycled past Bronwyn while she is on her hunger strike and did not even bother to stop.. This is going to cost you votes in the next election Helen. By the way this is a world heritage site.

  • mardi.stander - 2012-02-19 21:29

    Don't comment about something none of you know about! It's not a luxury multi-storey building as most think. The office is filled with all the neccessary things, like a safe to hold the money, like a staff room for the poor people in the toll booths. And anyway, most luxury that goes into the building will be in toilets. So just a word of advice, stop talking rubbish and find out the facts. Oh and I know all these things because I know someone who's actually part of the construction team.

      tracy.bramham - 2012-02-20 10:59

      R54mil is still way too much for construction of a toll booth and luxury toilets!! clean up the hospitals and schools that need it!!!

  • pages:
  • 1