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Shopsteward Volume 23 No. 1

COSATU Media Monitor COSATU Media Monitor COSATU Media Monitor

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  |  COSATU Press Statements

Support COSATU action to stop open road tolling in Gauteng

3 November 2012

The next phase of COSATUís campaign of mass action against the e-tolling of our highways, will be a protest slow drive on the highways of Ekurhuleni on Thursday 6 December 2012.

Motorists are urged to assemble from 06h00 at the Old Trade Centre (Now Mboro Church), cnr Black Reef and Masakane Streets, near the Scaw Metal factory, Alrode. From 09h00 the convoy will join the N3 at the Heidelberg Road on-ramp, then drive North along the N3, N12, R24, and R21 to the Nelmapius off-ramp in Centurion and then back South on the R21, N12 West towards Johannesburg and back on to the N3 South before dispersing.

To get further information, COSATU Gauteng Province invites the media to a press conference, the details of which are:

DATE: Wednesday 5 December 2012
TIME: 11h00
VENUE: 5th Floor, COATU House, 110 Jorissen Street, Braamfontein.

Dumisani Dakile (Provincial Secretary)
COSATU Gauteng Province
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Streets
Braamfontein
2017

Tel: + 27 11 873-2610 / 11
Fax: +27 11 873-1272
Mobile: +27 82 727 1422
E-Mail: dumisani@cosatu.org.za
Why COSATU is opposing e-tolls:

There is mass opposition to Open Road Tolling in Gauteng and government must take this into account.

Government must prioritise the roll-out of efficient, reliable, affordable and safe public transport for all the people of South Africa.

1. Tolls will add to the burdens of the poor:

  • The poor will be forced to pay to travel on highways which were previously free of charge.
  • It will not just affect the people of Gauteng, as the government has now conceded that e-tolling will replace the existing toll-gates throughout the country.
  • It is not true that only the middle class use our highways. Many low income earners use private cars to travel to work, because our public transport system is so unreliable and they have no alternative.
  • Large numbers of private vehicle users simply do not have a single extra rand to spend.
  • Tolls will also put an indirect burden on the poor of the whole of South Africa, by adding to the cost of transporting goods and will have an immediate effect on food inflation.

2. Tolls will perpetuate exclusion:

  • ĎUser-paysí means that you cannot use the best roads if you cannot afford to pay. The logic is that those without the money to pay the tolls should be excluded from access to the best roads. They must find the potholed side roads, while those with the money glide along the highways in their fancy cars.
  • COSATU has consistently argued that taxation must be the main source of funding for road infrastructure. If additional revenues have to be raised by government, then this must be done through a progressive tax system, rather than tolls which take no account of the ability of the driversí to pay.

3. Public Transport is totally inadequate:

  • Government has now exempted registered public transport vehicles from the tolls, but very few buses and taxis actually use the tolled highways.
  • Public transport largely remains woefully inadequate both in quality and in the numbers of people it serves.
  • A third of our people use private cars to get to and from work. Not from choice but because our public transport system is expensive, unsafe and unreliable.

4. Tolls represent a form of Privatisation:

  • The introduction of a tolling system that brings the private sector to operate the tolled roads is a form of privatisation, the commodification of what ought to be an essential publicly funded public service.
  • Worst is that the contracts signed with the companies operating the tolls remain secret. All evidence indicates that the revenues from the tolls are going to be enormous and that the loans will be paid off quickly, leaving the private operator to milk the public.

5. Cost of collection:

  • Another reason for opposing the tolls is the cost of collection, which will consume a massive 17% of the money collected in tolls. This means that tolls are not only and unfair but also a grossly inefficient way of raising the money for road improvements.
  • Even if the government makes further cuts in levels of tolls, the collection costs will become an increasingly larger % of the amount collected.
  • A large portion of the revenue collected will ultimately find its way into the pockets of the toll operators.

6. Income to be supplemented by fine collection:

In addition to the collection of toll fees, the operator will rely on the technology in the system to administer fines for non payment of toll fees. This back-door generation of income for profit from fines is in COSATUís view an abuse of the rule of law.

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