The ANC does not support e-tolls: Cosatu

Very few people in the African National Congress support the tolling of Gauteng’s highways, Cosatu in the province said on Thursday.

“This thing it has never been placed in any gathering of the ANC,” provincial secretary Dumisani Dakile told reporters in Johannesburg.

“All the provincial executive councils of the ANC that we have attended… they have unanimously agreed that this is not going to go [forward].”

He said the Congress of SA Trade Unions in Gauteng was not surprised when the ANC in the province announced at its conference that it was against e-tolls.

“We think it is important… having the ANC in Gauteng coming out openly from the closet and taken a clear stand in relation to this matter.”

The trade union federation, along with the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance and the National Taxi Alliance, would stage a protest on Saturday.

The protest would start at Cosatu House in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, and make its way to the SA National Roads Agency Limited’s (Sanral) offices in Pretoria. A protest would also start in Hatfield, Pretoria.

“We are going to hand over a memorandum to the Sanral offices… including burning of the e-tags and the bills which had been received by our people,” Dakile said.

He accused Sanral of abusing more than R20 billion on upgrading the province’s highways without consulting citizens.

“We call this action of Sanral as selling our public roads to the highest bidder and to monopoly capital without caring about our country and its people.”

Dakile claimed the e-tolling system was already facing a crisis because many workers were being retrenched by the agencies and labour brokers used by Sanral.

“The loss of revenue by Sanral is also another indication that the system is inefficient and ineffective and just creating a burden to our people and the poor in particular.”

Dakile dismissed claims by Sanral and the transport department that people would be prosecuted if they did not pay their e-toll bills.

“There are a number of other crimes that our police are supposed to be looking at. If you look at the recent statistics… they will tell you how violent crimes increased,” he said.

Prosecuting people who did not pay their e-tolls would be a waste of resources.

“If they want to arrest people, I will be the first to volunteer. I think this is a fallacy… they can hardly arrest people who are not paying traffic fines.”

Outa spokesman John Clark said it was an empty threat.

He said he had spoken to Transport Minister Dipuo Peters, who was a social worker just like him, and told her that as a social worker he believed it was irresponsible of her to “use such empty threats and allow yourself to be used”.

Asked whether he believed government would actually scrap e-tolls, Dakile said he was sure the people would be victorious.

“It’s high time government accept that it has made a mistake and they must humbly apologise to the people.”

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The ANC does not support e-tolls: Cosatu