Govt warns Cosatu over e-toll protest

Govt says anyone caught damaging property during the e-toll protest on Friday, will face the law.

FILE PICTURE: Thousands take part in a Cosatu march against labour brokers and e-tolling in Cape Town on 7 March 2012. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Government on Thursday warned anyone who damages property during Cosatu's planned e-toll protest on Friday will face the full might of the law.

It was widely reported on Thursday morning that Cosatu's Dumisani Dakile has called for protestors to destroy e-toll gantries.

But he has denied reports saying he was misunderstood.

"It was meant in that context, but you know how the media are," said Dakile

Dakile said the Gauteng Local Government and Housing Department should demolish the gantries the same way they destroyed houses built on illegally sold land in Lenasia.

Meanwhile, the judge hearing the e-tolling case has promised to work as fast as he can to reach a verdict, but hasn't given a date for when the ruling will be handed down.

The North Gauteng High Court has heard three days of arguments in a judicial review of the multi-billion rand project this week.

The hearing became heated at times with the judge was accused of being biased and calls for a senior advocate to be effectively fined for making unsubstantiated claims.

Judge Louis Vorster has now been left to weigh up two dramatically different sides of an argument and to rule on the future of e-tolling.

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) said South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) kept millions of people in the dark and failed to carry out meaningful consultation with the public.

The roads agency argued it did just that and showed the court a trail of media reports to prove its point.

It's taken exception of being accused of deliberate deceit and went as far as asking the court to impose punitive costs on OUTA or its lawyer.

Both sides said they were confident of victory.

This was told to members at the trade union federation's Central Executive Committee meeting on Wednesday.

The reports have resulted in government calling on those who will participate in the planned march on Friday in Johannesburg and Pretoria to exercise their right to protest within the ambit of the law.

Cosatu has also planned further protests to take place next week saying it will bring Gauteng to a standstill.