Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi on Friday compared the relative speed with which government moved on e-tolling and abolishing the Scorpions, to the slow pace of restricting labour brokers.
“When it comes to the capitalist class, the government had speed in its legs. But when it comes to the interests of the poor the government moves very slowly,” he told marchers opposing e-tolling in Gauteng.
The Scorpions, an investigative unit of the National Prosecuting Authority, were disbanded shortly after the April 2009 elections, after a short period of submissions on the matter, he said.
“Today there is no more Scorpions.
“They have shown a determination to shove this system (e-tolling) down our throats. We must show the same determination to reject this system.”
He called on members of the public to blockade toll gantries.
“Go to the nearest e-toll gate and park that car there the whole day... We want the government to see where the power is,” he said to cheers.
Vavi said money lost through corruption had to be retrieved and put towards building roads.
“This e-tolling thing is another way to steal from the poor.”
Vavi said suggestions that people instead use taxis were “nonsense”, as taxis were “moving coffins”.
“We are saying use these yourself. Premier, can you get in the taxi? We want the public transit system now.
“Don't be arrogant with power, because we as workers will take that power and then you will be ordinary people,” Vavi said.
Government is planning to introduce e-tolling on Gauteng freeways, a plan rejected by, among others, Cosatu, which is holding simultaneous marches in Pretoria and Johannesburg.
Meanwhile, Cosatu's Gauteng chairman Phutas Tseki told marchers in Johannesburg several freeways would be closed in Gauteng on December 6 when Cosatu and supporters held another march against e-tolling.
“Comrades bring along your cars, bicycles, and horses if you have one, to close down the freeways on Thursday.”
He was addressing hundreds of Cosatu members marching along Simmonds Street in Johannesburg en route to the Gauteng premier's office.
Acting ANC youth league president Ronald Lamola said the people had the power to force the project to collapse by not buying e-tags.
“We encourage all South Africans not to buy the e-tags because this project is targeting to steal from the poor.”
The league was disappointed at the small number of white people who took part in the march, because it affected all South Africans.
“We were expecting to have a huge participation of white people in the march especially because they are the ones who are using the freeways a lot,” he said. - Sapa