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Cape Town - No bicycles were allowed to be part of Thursday's “drive-slow” protest against e-tolling, Johannesburg metro police said.
“Yes, tractors are allowed because it is a vehicle, but no bicycles are allowed,” Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said.
Last week, the Congress of SA Trade Unions urged protesters to participate with their bicycles.
“… We are marching on the freeways. Comrades, bring your bicycles, we have organised tractors,” the union's provincial secretary Dumisani Dakile said.
Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi urged protesters to get there early, even in their “smoking Toyotas”.
“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 at the time.
Dakile and Vavi made the calls during two simultaneous anti-tolling marches in Johannesburg and Pretoria last week.
Minnaar on Thursday morning warned that vehicles which were not part of the protest and which blocked traffic would be towed away.
“Any vehicle that does not form part of motorcade and blocks traffic will be towed to the Johannesburg metro police department.”
Minnaar said protesters were allowed to protest using their vehicles “to form a motorcade”.
On Thursday morning, there was high police visibility at the starting points in Katlehong and Braamfontein ahead of the protest.
Protesters were slowly gathering at the locations but no roads had been closed off yet. Some people were seen sitting at toll gantries along the N3.
Dakile on Thursday 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.
Before going onto highways, Minnaar said cars would also proceed on several streets in the city including Smith, Anderson, and Sauer streets.
He said 100 cars were expected in Johannesburg.
Last week, 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.
The SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) 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 has yet to make a ruling following a judicial review of the e-toll system.
Like Outa, Cosatu wants e-tolling scrapped, saying workers cannot afford it. - Sapa