Cosatu still firm against e-tolls

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Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) Secretary General Zwelinzima Vavi says there will be no e-tolls in the country. Responding to questions from the media outside the federation movement’s 11th National Congress at Gallagher Estates, Vavi says Cosatu’s opposition to the Gauteng e-tolls is purely political. The Constitutional Court today set aside an interim order that put the Gauteng e-tolling project on review.
He says they are against the idea of turning user-friendly roads into pay-as-you-go routes, which in turn will sideline the poor who use the roads on a daily basis. Vavi says their opposition to this, is Cosatu’s primary objective. He notes that they are currently in talks with government, with the country’s deputy president leading the talks, on the way forward. Vavi says as much as they are opposed to the tolling of roads, they agree that an alternative means should be derive by government to pay back the R20 billion already spent to improve Gauteng highways. He stresses that Cosatu is “absolutely determined to oppose the tolls, even at street level.” He says Cosatu will fight with every power they have to ensure e-tolls never see the light of day. But he has given the assurance that despite today’s Constitutional Court’s ruling on the e-tolls, government will not impose these on people willy-nilly. Vavi further thanked those who have opposed the e-toll proposal, in unison with Cosatu, also saying to them: “Don’t drop your guard, we need your energy and support now more than ever.” He agrees that Cabinet has a constitutional right to determine policy, which Cosatu agrees to fully, but says for government “to slit the throats of its people”, is unacceptable and such issues need to be addressed. According to Vavi, the Lula Moment that the union has proclaimed on and which also forms part of the congress’s program of action, will include the fight against attempts to have e-tolls introduced elsewhere in the country.
Sending a warning to government on the possible introduction of e-tolls, Vavi says: “Don’t even think about it because it will cause unnecessary conflict.”

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