18 April 2012
The Congress of South African Trade Unions is mobilizing its two million members for the mother of all protests against the act of highway robbery set to be committed from 30 April 2012 - the Gauteng e-tolls!
We are confident that we will be joined by many thousands more angry residents and motorists who support our demand for the scrapping of these tolls and the end to privatisation and commodification of our public services, which includes our transport network.
Popular opposition to the tolls is overwhelming, in particular to the latest statements by Sanral, threatening motorists who do not register for e-tags with having to pay a punitive rate to use the toll roads, as high as R2 per kilometre, nearly six times higher than the rate for those who have registered.
Having being forced to concede that buying an e-tag is not a legal requirement, they are now trying to bully and blackmail motorists into registering.
These threats will have the exact opposite effect. They will infuriate people and make them even more determined to follow COSATUís advice not to register and not to buy an e-tag.
COSATU has not stopped campaigning to stop the tolls. On 7 March millions of workers went on strike and tens of thousands took to the streets in protest marches to demand the banning of the e-tolls and labour brokering.
Since then we have been engaging with the African National Congress to reach agreement on alternative solutions to the funding of roads. These talks are continuing and we shall strive right up to the last minute to have the tolls scrapped or at least postponed for a proper public debate.
Meanwhile the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance is lodging an application to the North Gauteng High Court to have the e-tolling interdicted. Should that case fail, COSATU is ready to take legal action of its own to get the tolls interdicted.
In the end however, it is the pressure of the masses which will force government to back down. People power has brought down governments in North Africa; it can surely stop this assault on our living standards. Our aim is to make the tolls uncollectible and force the government and Sanral to find more equitable ways to pay for road improvements.
The federation last night, 16 April 2012, issued a notice under Section 77 of the Labour Relations Act enabling workers to engage in protected protest action, which will include:
Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Street
Tel: +27 11 339-4911 or 010 219-1339
Mobile: +27 82 821 7456