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Cosatu calls for 14c fuel levy

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SANRAL TOLL jan31 IOL pic

INLSA

File photo by Ihsaan Haffejee

Cosatu wants 14c a litre on the fuel levy. That is what Cosatu suggests could be used to fund the recently built Gauteng roads.

According to Cosatu discussion documents, all motorists from all provinces should bear the brunt of the cost of building new roads, not just those in Gauteng through a fuel levy.

Patrick Craven, Cosatu national spokesman, said this was one of the options that was being considered in discussions between the trade union and the ANC about how to fund the toll roads.

Craven said: “There is no new policy we have come up with, we are still working with the ANC on the best alternative-funding methods and we are looking at different options,” he said.

There are road upgrades happening in other provinces, such as KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, and they should be funded by all motorists equally, he said.

In the union’s discussion papers on the funding of Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, the organisation states that good infrastructure will benefit the entire country and not just Gauteng road users.

It argues that Gauteng’s roads are widely used by many people, in many industries and professions throughout the country for transportation as it is the “economic heart of South Africa”.

Other provinces must contribute to the cost of Gauteng roads because the province pays more than its fair share to the economy and four times more than it receives from national treasury.

“Gauteng residents do not bemoan this and realise that the government needs to distribute the wealth from the economic hub to the entire country infrastructure.”

“If you are going to push a user-pay principle then on this basis, Gauteng citizens have more than paid for their freeway improvements,” state the papers.

Cosatu has suggested, as an interim measure, a 14 cents a litre increase in the fuel levy.

The Sunday Independent reported that Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe will meet Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi after it was said that he convinced the ANC, which was initially swayed by Cosatu, to change its consideration to scrap the e-tolls.

This is why the ANC last week endorsed the cabinet’s decision to appeal against the Pretoria high court ruling to interdict the collection of the levies on the e-tolls, pending a full court review.

Vavi rejected an earlier comment by Motlanthe at a recent media briefing on e-tolling, that a decision taken between the ANC and Cosatu to delay the Gauteng e-tolls by a month was “just a suggestion.”

He is on record as saying: “It’s quite annoying… to be told that our agreement with the ruling party is a mere recommendation to the superpower, the government.

In April, while the Pretoria High Court was hearing the e-toll arguments, Vavi also said he had no doubt that the government was “going to learn the hard way again with the Constitutional Court when it fails in this application”.

On April 28, the high court handed down an order preventing the SA National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral) from levying or collecting e-tolls pending the outcome of a judicial review.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan applied to the Constitutional Court to set aside this court order.

Gordhan argued that Judge Bill Prinsloo had ignored the principle of separation of powers.

anna.cox@inl.co.za

The Star


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