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Cosatu unveils e-toll protest plans

The union federation says its protests will bring the province’s roads to a complete standstill.

The motoring industry is ecstatic at government’s decision to hold off the implementation of e-tolls.

JOHANNESBURG - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Friday announced a wave of protests across Gauteng against the controversial Gauteng e-tolling system.

The trade union federation will stage marches to several departments and has planned a massive protest to shut down the majority of the province's highways.

Plans were revealed at Cosatu House in central Johannesburg on Friday afternoon.

The first march will start next week with marches to the transport and housing departments in Johannesburg, and a protest to the finance department in Pretoria.

The next demonstration will take place on December 6.

Cosatu's Dumisani Dakile called on motorists to occupy the highways in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Ekurhuleni from 5am.

"Others will be driving their cars, others will be driving their trucks and others will be driving their tractors."

The aim of the protest is to show government that if e-tolls go ahead, the transport system will come to a standstill, Cosatu said.

E-TOLL DELAY WELCOMED

The motoring and tourism sectors are the latest to welcome government's decision to hold off on the implementation of the tolls.

On Thursday, the bill regulating government's ability to charge motorists was withdrawn in Parliament, Cape Town, and will only be debated in February 2013.

At the same time, a review of the controversial system will begin in Pretoria's North Gauteng High Court on Monday.

The Automobile Association (AA)'s Gary Ronald believes the outcry at recent public hearings contributed to government's decision to hold off on the implementation.

"Due to the levels of anger and frustration that was displayed [by members of the public], I think it certainly had an impact on the politicians."

The Tourism Services Association's Michael Tatalias says this has given the anti-tolling lobby a reprieve.

"Now we have to focus on the court case next week. The government can't implement the toll system before the judge has made a ruling."