COSATU to strike against e-tolls
With less than two weeks to go until the introduction of e-tolling, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) says it will hold another mass strike in protest against the initiative.
Following protest action in March, the trade federations says it is mobilising its two million members for “the mother of all protests” against Gauteng e-tolls”.
COSATU says a national strike will take place on 30 April – while rallies, demonstrations and marches will be held at or near the offices of Sanral and the Department of Transport, both provincial and national from 23 April.
“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,” says COSATU.
This follows an announcement by the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) that unregistered users would be paying three times the standard toll-tariff and punitive measures would be enforced on motorists who fail to pay.
An alternate user rate of R1.74 per kilometre – three times the standard toll tariff for users with e-tags – would apply to unregistered motorists who would be charged more for invoicing, debt collection and costs associated with recovering payment.
Drivers of e-tag vehicles pay 30 cents a kilometer, instead of 66 cents as originally planned. There will also be a monthly cap of R550 for frequent users. In addition, there will be a 15 percent discount in the rates after their toll fees reach R400.
“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,” says COSATU.
The trade federation has accused SANRAL of resorting to bullying and blackmail to get motorists to registering.
“Our aim is to make the tolls uncollectible and force the government and Sanral to find more equitable ways to pay for road improvements,” says COSATU.