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Shopsteward Volume 27: Special Bulletin

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Media Centre  |  COSATU Press Statements

The e-tolls project has become a farce

8 December 2015

The Congress of South African Trade Unions calls on the government and Sanral to heed the strong and unambiguous message that is being strongly relayed by South Africans, totally rejecting the farce that is the e-tolls project. The latest figures show that Sanral has spectacularly failed to convince South Africans to pay for e-tolls, even after attempting to lure them with a 60% discount offer.

According to Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona they have only managed to collect R40 million in the first four weeks of the 60% discount offer, which started on the 2nd of November this year.

The Gauteng motorists have been consistently defiant and have sent a clear message to all those, who support e-tolls; that they will never allow government to privatise our country's roads. We also condemn the wasteful expenditure by the Gauteng provincial government that has allocated money to service the e-toll debt. It is clear now that their opposition to e-tolls was a Public Relations exercise and a political stunt that was not genuine.

The National General Council of the ANC rejected the e-tolls and it is hypocritical for government then to continue as if that decision was not taken. Both Sanral and the Gauteng government are operating without a mandate from the people and what they are currently doing is in the interests of the state and not in the interests of the people. This is a case of government looking after itself and its interests and undermining and ignoring the voting and taxpaying public.

We also find it ridiculous and callous for Sanral to continue to spend millions of taxpayers' money on advertising, promoting a programme that has been clearly rejected by the people. This is a gross wastage of the taxpayer's money and we call for the immediate withdrawal of this futile campaign.

Our 12th National Congress made it very clear that the campaign against the privatisation of our roads shall continue and will only be intensified.

What we should be discussing now, is the immediate rolling out of an affordable, accessible and efficient public transport system. Government should be spending the energy and the resources to ensure that there is an improvement in the coordination of our multi-faceted public transport system. We should be sitting down as stakeholders mapping out strategies and systems to do away with the current fragmentation.

During this festive season, we are already witnessing the carnage on our roads with thousands of people having already lost their lives to roads accidents.

We have also seen thousands of workers lose their jobs because of the unreliability of the public transport system. This negatively affects the economy because the wheels of the economy are bogged down by the inefficiency of an unreliable public transport system.

The federation will vehemently oppose the attempts to extend the elitist Gautrain project. The majority of workers and the poor cannot access nor afford the Gautrain ;and it is unacceptable that they have to be made to foot the bill this vanity project that caters for the well off minority. Public transport should not only be used by those with no other choice, but should become a mode of choice for all citizens.

Sizwe Pamla (National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Street

P.O.Box 1019
South Africa

Tel: +27 11 339-4911 Direct 010 219-1339
Mobile: 060 975 6794
E-Mail: sizwe@cosatu.org.za