The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) insists that SA is morally obliged to
service the debt incurred for the
Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).
The federation on Friday met with the inter-ministerial committee set up by
Cabinet to address the GFIP and
e-tolling as its funding mechanism.
The meeting at Cosatu House, in Braamfontein, was part of ongoing stakeholder
consultations being held by the committee.
“It was agreed that the Alliance Task Team would meet again to look at
discrepancies between two reports on the GFIP, and to amend its mandate with a
view to consensus on the broader and short-term issues,” says a joint statement
on the meeting.
As chair of the committee, deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe said the
committee is undertaking consultations with an open mind to hear stakeholder
concerns that will eventually be presented to Cabinet. “The idea is for us to
explore the best possible way of finding a solution to this challenge.”
He added that from all the GFIP consultations to date, there was in-principle
agreement among stakeholders that the principle of user pay is key; that the
South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) is an outstanding agency, whose
creditworthiness has to be sustained; and that in the current economic
environment, poor and unemployed people should not be burdened with additional
Motlanthe expressed the need for a speedy solution and stressed that Sanral's
credit worthiness cannot be risked, according to the Government Communication
and Information System.
It quotes him as saying: "Being creditworthy means that you are able to
service your debt and you are able to pay your capital loans and if Sanral
cannot pay its debt, it will mean that they can't be creditworthy. It is for
this reason that we have said let us give Sanral the support it deserves.
Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said the federation welcomes the
consultations and had always insisted that the country was morally obliged to
service the debt incurred for the GFIP. It would work with government on ways to
The meeting explored government's plans to decongest Gauteng freeways and
improve public transport, as well as proposals on using vehicle licensing fees,
personal and income tax and a fuel levy as means to replace toll fees, according
to the statement.
Cosatu is of the view that the road network is a public good and that it is
inappropriate to toll urban roads. It led a mass march against e-tolling earlier
Government and the federation agreed to meet again in two weeks to consider a
report on options developed by the ANC-Cosatu-SACP Alliance for the servicing of
Treasury is currently opposing a court interdict against the implementation