E-toll protests to affect SA highways

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) is to take its protest against e-tolling in Gauteng to the highways tomorrow, in spite of government warnings that protestors would face criminal conviction.

HumanIPO reported last week the government warning that any protestor vandalising e-toll gantries would be charged.

But Cosatu Gauteng chairman Phutas Tseki said the protest would in fact take shape in the form of a go-slow on major highways in the region, beginning tomorrow.

“We won’t be marching and demonstrating with our feet this time; we will be demonstrating with our wheels,” Tseki told reporters in Johannesburg. “We will be driving slowly.”

Some of Johannesburg’s busiest highways are set to be affected, including the N1, M2, M1, N3, N12, R24, and R21.

“We will do this for almost seven hours,” Tseki said, though he added that it was not a strike and that workers would be reporting to their jobs. Cosatu leaders and shop stewards are expected to lead the protest.

The controversial e-tolling system requires all commuters to fit their vehicle with an e-tag, which will monitor and electronically charge them each time they pass a gantry on the highway. Those without e-tags will be monitored and have their journeys billed.

Cosatu’s Duisani Dakile had previously called for the destruction of e-toll gantries by protestors, a move which was condemned by the government. A less destructive approach has now been settled upon, with Dakile promising further such protests if the government does not heed their demands.

Two campaigns will take place, one in Johannesburg and one in Ekurhuleni. Motorists are meeting at 6am for an expected 8am start, with 100 cars expected. Both convoys are expected to travel at no faster than 10kph.

A protest convoy was also planned in Tshwane but called off.

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