Cops deployed for e-tolls protest on highwaysComment on this story
There was high police visibility in Katlehong in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg, on Thursday morning ahead of a “drive-slow” protest against e-tolling.
At least 12 police vans were stationed at Masakhane Street where the Cosatu protest was due to start.
Protesters were slowly gathering at the location but no roads had been closed off yet. Some people were seen sitting at toll gantries along the N3.
In Braamfontein in Johannesburg, police and media began gathering from 6am but no protesters had arrived.
Four police vans were stationed at Cosatu House on Jorissen Street where the protest was due to start from.
The protest, which included driving slowly on highways, was due to start at 8am.
The two protests would take place on the N1, M2, M1, N3, N12, R24, and R21.
Cosatu Gauteng secretary Dumisani Dakile urged motorists who joined the protest to drive with their headlights and hazard lights on. Some cars would also have banners.
The trade union federation received permission to protest from both the Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni metros.
Last week, protesters in Pretoria and Johannesburg voiced their opposition to e-tolling during two simultaneous marches in Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Cosatu threatened to remove toll gantries “nicely”, occupy Gauteng streets, and block freeways if it did not receive positive feedback on memorandums handed to several departments.
It gave the departments of transport, finance, and housing until 5pm on Monday to respond to their demands.
The SA National Roads Agency has been at the forefront of the e-tolling project in Gauteng, but the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) brought a court application to have the project scrapped. The court still has to make a ruling after a judicial review of the e-tolls project.
Like Outa, Cosatu wants e-tolls scrapped, saying workers cannot afford it and government must prioritise efficient affordable public transport. - Sapa