Hundreds have gathered in Joburg's CBD to support Cosatu's nationwide protest action against e-tolls and labour broking. Picture: Molebatsi Manzi, IOL

The ANC has to listen to the masses, embattled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema told anti-tolling protesters in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

"The march is not ANC, it is to ask that promises are kept. Cosatu is the one leading the march. The ANC must listen to the masses," he told the cheering crowd in the city centre.

Malema said "Mickey Mouse newspapers" would say only 30,000 people had turned out for the event, "but I see 150,000".

With Malema's arrival the crowd, which stretched back six blocks, picked up new vigour.

Marshalls could not contain protesters, spilling from Rissik Street on to De Korte, who rushed towards him chanting his nickname, "Juju, Juju".

After meeting the protesters, Malema left in a black Mercedes, before returning to address the crowd.

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi was also given a hero's welcome. As the protest got underway earlier, shops on Rissik Street closed their doors. - Sapa