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Dismal turnout for Cosatu drive slow

Only a handful of Cosatu members have gathered for their demonstration against e-tolling.

A handful of Cosatu members have gathered in Pretoria’s CBD for a drive slow against the implementation of e-tolling. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN

PRETORIA - A handful of members of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) arrived in Pretoria's CBD just before 9am on Monday, ahead of their drive-slow against the launch of e-tolling.

The protest was scheduled to start at 7am, but was delayed by early morning traffic congestion.

The less than 20 men who arrived for the demonstration wasted no time preparing their placards ahead of the drive slow.

Some of the posters read "E-tolls hijacking our roads", while others read the poor would not be able to see their relatives because of the system.

Cosatu hopes to have at least 100 cars join its protest today.

It has shrugged off the delay of its demonstration, saying it has been given permission to protest until 7pm.

Meanwhile, the Gauteng Provincial Secretary for Cosatu, Dumisani Dakile, has called on the public not just to hoot in support of their planned drive slow, but to join them.

The drive slow is expected to affect traffic on the N1 Highway between Pretoria and Johannesburg and the R21 near OR Tambo International Airport.

E-TOLLING LEGAL BATTLE LOOMS

The courts in January gave e-tolling permission to launch, but the Transport Department has agreed to wait until a bill governing the collection of fees is passed.

This process is expected to take at least six months.

A parallel legal challenge by the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) is also underway, and is on the desk of the Supreme Court of Appeal.

In January, the North Gauteng High Court granted the alliance leave to appeal its earlier judgment, which went in favour of government and the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral).

Revenue from the controversial system will pay off a 2007 debt incurred by Sanral to build the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project.