COSATU statement on road tolls
The Congress of South African Trade Unions is shocked and angry at the announcement today, 11 August 2011, that the government has approved the toll fees which are to be charged to travel on Gauteng's highways.
Government had earlier promised that they would consult with the public before charging tolls. Yet at the only meeting to which COSATU Gauteng was invited, they were simply told that the tolls were going ahead. That is not consultation! The massive and widespread opposition to the tolls has been totally ignored.
The minimal reduction of tariffs - on light motor vehicles from 49.5 cents to 40 cents per kilometre, and on medium vehicles from 149 to 100 cents per kilometre - in no way meets COSATU's objections to the imposition of these road tolls, which is based on opposition to the whole principle of charging tolls to drive on public highways.
The toll will impose a huge additional burden on road users, while generating huge profits to those who have installed and will be running this R20bn system. They will have a particularly devastating effect on workers who have no alternative but to drive to work because of the lack of a proper public transport system.
They will lead to big price increases in the shops to cover the increased cost of transporting goods, and some companies may even be forced out of business and have to retrench workers because of their increased transport costs.
COSATU has issued a notice under Section 77 of the Labour Relations Act and negotiations on this are continuing in Nedlac. If there is no change in policy from government and the negotiations deadlock, we shall be planning marches, demonstrations, pickets and stayaways, and taking strike action if the tolls are not scrapped. We are confident that thousands of other Gauteng residents will be joining us in these protests.
The federation will continue to demand as its alternative to tolled roads, an integrated, safe, reliable and affordable public transport system.
Statement issued by Patrick Craven, COSATU national spokesperson, August 11 2011
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