Prepare for ‘Mother of All Battles’ - COSATU

The Congress of the South African Trade Unions (COSATU) says South Africans should prepare for the ‘mother of all battles’ against Gauteng e-tolls, high electricity prices and corruption.

COSATU general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, points out that, “The mother of all battles is coming this year against the e-tolls, the banning of labour brokers and corruption...”

Vavi, who says South Africans are in so much trouble when it comes to the deep rot of corruption, also described the scale of corruption, where people are continuing to steal from the poor, as ‘frightening’.

Judge 'Erred Fundamentally' - OUTA

High Court Judge, Louis Vorster, had misinterpreted a section of the South African National Roads Agency Ltd (SANRAL) Act on public consultation to reach his ruling that e-tolling could proceed.

Mike Maritz, for the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA), argued before Vorster that he had ‘erred fundamentally’ in his interpretation of section 27 (4) of the Act.

Maritz said Vorster had not engaged with the argument against a lack of ‘procedural fairness’ in the way SANRAL had informed the public about e-tolling.

NGO Warns of Possible e-Toll Implementation

The Opposition for Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) has warned that the court ruling that grants them the right to appeal a North Gauteng High Court ruling does not mean that the e-tolls will not be instituted in the near future.

OUTA's chairperson, Wayne Duyvenage, says it is clear most people are against the e-toll system, adding, however, that it could still be implemented by the South African National Roads Agency Ltd.

OUTA Supports COSATU’s Slow Drive

Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) chairperson, Wayne Duvenage, says that OUTA supports Congress of the South African Trade Unions’ planned slow drive protest against e-tolls on Gauteng's freeways.

Duvenage says that OUTA is in favour of anything that is legal and sends a message across to government about the rejection of e-tolls.

Meanwhile, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe's spokesperson, Thabo Masebe, says government cannot negotiate forever regarding the e-tolls.

Tolls Judge Asked to Recuse Himself

The long-expected showdown on Gauteng's highway tolls got off to a dramatic start when the presiding judge was asked to consider recusing himself.
The Treasury's advocate, Jeremy Gauntlett, questioned Judge Louis Vorster's impartiality, and asked him to ‘consider’ his ‘position’ on the grounds he appeared to be agreeing with the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance's (OUTA) argument that the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) is in breach of its own regulations.

Govt Withdraws e-Tolling Bill

The controversial Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill was withdrawn from the National Assembly order paper virtually at the last minute this week.

Shortly after the Assembly convened on the afternoon of 22 November 2012, the African National Congress (ANC) asked that two resolutions paving the way for the bill to be debated later in the day be withdrawn.

ANC ‘Trying to Rush Through’ e-Tolls Bill

Parliament is rushing through amendments to legislation required for Gauteng’s e-tolls with a National Assembly debate on the bill scheduled for 22 November 2012 - a day or two after public hearings and committee deliberations.

This is despite strong opposition from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), which warned the transport portfolio committee that if the Transport Laws and Related Matters and Amendment Bill is not withdrawn and e-tolling scrapped, there will be protest action on 30 November.

COSATU Adamant on e-Tolls

Labour federation, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) hopes the contentious Gauteng freeway e-tolling system will be discussed at the ruling party's elective congress in Mangaung in December 2012.

COSATU spokesperson, Patrick Craven, states that the federation hopes that delegates to the African National Congress (ANC) national conference in Mangaung will agree with COSATU that tolling is not a fair or efficient way of raising money for road improvements.

Public Talks Highlight Opposition to e-Tolls

It is hoped that government will change its mind about e-tolling Gauteng’s major highways after public talks on the matter are held this week, those opposed to the user pay system said.
The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) chairperson, Wayne Duvenhage, points out that this is not about fighting government for the sake of fighting.
Duvenhage adds that even if they find some technical reason to defend e-tolls in court, it is the will of the people that can make a difference.

OUTA Says Public Against e-Tolls

Opposition To Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) says that the public meetings on Gauteng's e-tolls indicated the public is against the system.
In a press statement, OUTA points out that, "Despite efforts by the department of transport to focus on discussing the proposed tariffs and exemptions at meetings, many expressed sheer anger at the lack of initial consultation."
The organisation further argues that the government should initially have been more open and accommodating in seeking public and business opinion.


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