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EFF e-tolling march delayed

About 200 people in red t-shirts and berets are gathering in Joburg’s city centre.

EFF members gather to march against e-tolling in Johannesburg on 1 November 2013. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF)'s first protest against the controversial e-tolling system in Johannesburg is yet to get underway.

About 200 people in red t-shirts and berets are gathering in Johannesburg's city centre for the march.

They plan to march from the Mary Fitzgerald square in Newton to the offices of the Premier and the Gauteng Department of Transport to hand over a memorandum calling for the system to be scrapped.

An official, who addressed the crowd, claimed five buses with more EFF members from Soshanguve had broken down and more supporters were not allowed to leave Park Station.

The Johannesburg Metro Police have given the EFF until 1pm to finish their protest.

There is currently a heavy police presence in the area but very few ordinary citizens to support the EFF's cause.

Earlier the EFF's Patrick Sindane said, "We are confident that we are going to have a very successful march. Our people have spoken and they need to voice their anger on the streets. We are not saying we completely reject the e-toll system and the implementation of it while sitting in our fancy boardrooms, we need to be on the streets to show that we are sick and tired."

Meanwhile, the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) has raised questions about the resignation of a top manager involved in the e-tolling project.

The organisation says the CEO of Electronic Tolling Company (ETC) Salahdin Yacoubi, which has been hired by the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) to manage the technical side of the system, has stepped down apparently due to personal reasons.

Outa's Wayne Duvenage says the timing of the resignation is suspicious.

"To have a sudden resignation something is clearly amiss. We believe it has something to do with the work ability and the inefficiencies of e-tolling so it will be interesting to see what the reasons are."

However, Sanral says Yacoubi's resignation will have no impact on its contract with ETC.

E-tolling is due to be launched within weeks.