Sanral’s decision not to pursue legal action against e-toll defaulters represents a partial victory for workers and the Gauteng motorists
27 March 2019
The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted Sanral’s decision to stop pursuing legal action against e-toll defaulters and will abandon the summonses that have been issued over the last four years. This is a partial victory for Gauteng motorists and workers who have defiantly refused to be coerced and intimidated by both government and Sanral on the issue of e-tolls.
COSATU is not celebrating though because this does not meet our demand for the total eradication of the e-tolls. While the e-toll gantries are still standing all across the Gauteng Roads; our campaign for the total eradication of e-tolls will continue.
During the 2016 Local Government elections, the people of Gauteng expressed their views on the ballot box by punishing the ANC for failing to listen and act on e-tolls. This policy has been overwhelmingly rejected by the majority of the people of Gauteng. We expect Sanral and government to work with relevant stakeholders to sort out the e-toll mess once and for all.
COSATU remains totally opposed to e-tolls and we continue to argue for an integrated public transport model that has always been at the centre of the federation`s campaign against e-tolling. The lack of such an integrated public transport system is the main reason why so many thousands of motorists have no alternative means of getting to and from work. Workers bitterly resent having to pay twice for road improvements which they have already paid for through taxes and the fuel levy.
E-tolls are a relic of a redundant and discredited New Public Management system that was introduced under GEAR in 1996. The New Public Management represents a right-wing ideological model of the public sector that wants to change the public service to operate along the lines of the private sector. It introduces private-sector practices and in the delivery of services, the New Public Management insists on the user-payer principle (e.g. such as the e-tolls) as opposed to cross-subsidisation of the poor by the rich. It promotes the commodification of public services rather than the promotion of constitutional or citizenship rights, and as such citizens become “customers” or “clients” in the practice of the delivery of public services.
The fight for efficient, reliable, affordable and safe public transport for all the people goes on. We continue to urge motorists not to register with Sanral or buy e-tags until the e-tolls are totally scrapped. We are certain that people’s power will finally convince the government to abandon a policy which is extremely unpopular, unfair and unworkable.
Issued by Sizwe Pamla, National Spokesperson, COSATU, 27 March 2019