Government must stop implementation of e-tolling or face protests and the destruction of toll booths, trade union federation Cosatu said on Wednesday.
“I think if government doesn’t listen, then people will have no choice but to go and demolish those toll gates,” said Gauteng Cosatu provincial secretary Dumisani Dakile at a press briefing.
Dakile was joined by Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and president Sidumo Dlamini.
Vavi said a protest in Pretoria and Johannesburg against e-tolling on Friday was only a precursor to more mass action if the unpopular plan went ahead.
“This action on Friday is just the beginning. On 6 December, we are not only going to march, but give the government a little dose of what to expect in March if they pass that law and try to force implementation of the e-tolls,” Vavi said.
He said workers would “occupy the highways and claim them as ours”.
Vavi said Gauteng was only the first province to have e-tolling, as there were also plans to roll out e-tolling in Durban and Cape Town.
He called the battle against e-tolling a “struggle between life and death” and called for South Africans outside Gauteng to protest e-tolling.
“Other provinces cannot be spectators; this is not about Gauteng. This is about South Africa,” Vavi said.
He argued that e-tolling would cost the public much more than the initial cost of improving Gauteng’s highways; about R70bn for R20bn in improvements. “We are not prepared to pay over and over and over the R20bn.”
Vavi said government had a “track record” of paying more for projects than was initially estimated, and pointed to the Gautrain and 2010 World Cup stadiums as examples. — Sapa