Cosatu, SACP threaten to intensify campaign to have tolls fees reduced

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Cosatu and the SACP in Mpumalanga have threatened to intensify a campaign to have the toll fees reduced. This comes as Sanral increased the toll fees at the beginning of this month.

Sanral says it is increasing the toll gate tariffs by 5% across the country, in line with Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The SACP and Cosatu members protested at all the toll gates in Mpumalanga.

SACP and Cosatu members demonstrating to show frustration over what they call Sanral’s greed of inflating prices.

This Nkomazi Toll Plaza is one of the expensive tollgates in the country. One of their demands is for the toll fees to be reduced by 50%.

“This toll gates are so expensive. This one is the most expensive toll gate in the country. You go to Middleburg is R75, you go to Nkomazi is R79, so all this toll gates are not affordable. It is about time they reduce them to 50%, and people who are residing next to this toll plaza must also benefit. It can’t be that the private sector is benefiting alone. We are also calling Trac and Sanral that these roads, public roads (are) not public. (They) must go back to the government,” says SACP provincial secretary Lucky Mbuyane.

Motorists are also feeling the pinch.

“When you are travelling from Pretoria to Mpumalanga this toll gate is very expensive, but we don’t have a choice. We need to travel,” says David Ngwenya.

Sanral says they are concerned about the organisation’s plight, and have accepted the memorandum. A meeting has been scheduled between all relevant stakeholders for next Wednesday to find a solution.

Head of marketing and communications at Sanral, Vusi Mona, says, “We are even hesitant to call it an increase. It is an adjustment linked to inflation. We looked at the inflation rate in the previous 12 months and then we adjust the price according to the inflation rate. It is an acceptable economic principle because the rand or any currency will lose value overtime; year in year out, the rand loses value. If we don’t adjust we will work at a loss, because the cost of maintaining the roads will be going up.”

Trac has assured motorist of their safety in all the tolls in Mpumalanga.

‘‘We have continued with our operations today. We didn’t foresee any major protest. People are allowed to protest. We have deployed and asked for police presence on all tolls affected by protest, and that is just to keep everyone safe including the picketers who are on a national road,” says Trac Spokeperson Solange Soers-Nicholson.

SACP, together with Cosatu, has given Sanral seven days to respond to their demands.

Meanwhile, police continue to monitor all the toll roads.