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Johannesburg - Motorists in Katlehong, east of Johannesburg, were sticking posters on their cars and windows ahead of a “drive slow” protest against e-tolling on Thursday.
Pockets of people had assembled at the starting point in Masakhane Street in Katlehong and posters were handed out around 8am.
Some posters read: “Tolling Gauteng highways must be scrapped” and “No to open road tolling systems.”
There was high police visibility there, with some metro officers on bikes and others in riot gear.
Protesters were also seen gathering at gantries on the N3.
About police 20 cars had lined up, along with a Nyala armoured vehicle.
There was a similar atmosphere in Braamfontein, where stickers were handed to motorists and were stuck on cars.
Some stickers read: “Demolish e-tolls not houses”, “Crash privatisation -open national roads”, “Reclaim our national roads” and “Don't register with Sanral, don't buy e-tags”.
Police visibility on Jorissen Street outside Cosatu House was also high.
The Congress of SA Trade Unions provincial chairman Phutas Tseki said they would not interfere with the toll gantries, despite calls for them to be removed last week.
“We won't think of touching even one gantry. When we arrive at them we will stop and move on.”
Cosatu last week threatened to remove toll gantries “nicely” and hand them to the SA National Roads Agency Limited, that has been at the forefront of the e-tolling project.
A National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) member, Wally Rooi, who was in Johannesburg for a meeting decided to join the protest in the East Rand.
“I have to be here to support this action... It is affecting the poor. It is affecting all of us,” he said.
“When they start it here, it will spread to other provinces.”
Protester Tebogo Mokhudu said he was there to give his support against e-tolling.
“We are paying so much already… This is a third world country but we are living as if this is a first world country,” he said.
“This is uncalled for. I am gatvol. Serious, I think today will make a difference.”
He said the protest would send a message.
Protesters were told to keep a three-car space distance between them.
Earlier, Johannesburg metro police spokesman Superintendent Wayne Minnaar warned that no bicycles were allowed to be part of the “drive-slow” protest.
“Yes, tractors are allowed because it is a vehicle, but no bicycles are allowed,” he said.
Last week, Cosatu urged protesters to participate with their bicycles.
Minnaar warned that vehicles which were not part of the protest and which blocked traffic would be towed away.
Cosatu provincial secretary Dumisani Dakile said the protest was expected to start at 9am.
“If we could get 50 cars that would be great. It's not about the number of cars, it's about the message,” he said.
He was glad to hear that people were gathering at gantries,
“We're happy that people are at the gantries on their own. We're happy people are joining this action in one way or the other.”
The two protests would take place on the N1, M2, M1, N3, N12, R24, and R21.
Last week, Cosatu threatened to occupy Gauteng streets, and block freeways if it did not receive positive feedback on memorandums handed to several departments.
The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) has brought a court application to have the e-toll project scrapped, but a ruling has yet to be made. - Sapa