Cosatu members 'willing to die' to stop e-tolling

Cosatu says it will not stop fighting for e-tolls to be halted.

A group of protesters gather outside Cosatu headquarters in Johannesburg on Friday, 24 May 2013 after the march against e-tolls was cancelled. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - Trade union federation Cosatu's members are willing to sacrifice their lives if it was once again prevented from carrying out protests in opposition to e-tolling, officials said on Friday.

Speaking outside Cosatu House in Braamfontein, Gauteng Secretary Dumisani Dakile told a handful of protestors they would give South Africa another "Marikana on a silver platter," if police continued provoking them by refusing the permission.

On Thursday, the Johannesburg Magistrates Court refused Cosatu permission to stage the protest.

Dakile said they would fight for their right to protest the controversial system.

"We are not threatening violence. What we are saying is we are prepared to pay any price and if it means we must pay with our lives that is what we will do. We are exercising our constitutional right."

While very few protesters turned up at Cosatu House, representatives from the Treatment Action Campaign, the South African Communist Party and the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference have all thrown their support behind Cosatu.

More protest action from Ekurhuleni is expected next week and a mass march planned for 10 June.

Government continues to defend the controversial project, saying it will be impossible to build and maintain roads without the money which is due to be collected through tariffs.

A bill, which will allow tariffs to be collected, is moving through Parliament and is expected to be signed into law soon.

At the same time, a court battle over e-tolling in Gauteng will be heard later this year.

If the controversial system is implemented, motorists will pay at least 30 cents per kilometre to use a large stretch of provincial highways