Press Statement dated 9 July 2019

The Congress of South African Trade unions in the North West province took up a campaign against the Swartruggens toll gate in 2011.

This was part of the national campaign against e tolling.

It was seen as something that was not achievable or COSATU was building a pie in the sky.

Today, eight years on there is a need to do an evaluation on the whether there has been progress of the campaign or it was a total waste of time and resources.

In its conception of the campaign COSATU made the following demands:

  • The reduction of the toll fees to R20.00
  • The construction of the alternative road parallel to the N4 for the road users who cannot afford to pay the toll fees
  • The improvement of the road infrastructure in the same road
  • The extension of the discount to all frequent and local users
  • The release of the concession contract to the public and the cooperative social responsibility of the Bakwena to the local community.

The demands above were informed by the fact that:

  • The toll road was built in the existing R27 road which the motorists have been using for many years.
  • There is a deterioration on the state of the road infrastructure in the province and nothing is been done to refurbish them
  • There is no alternative for the people who leave in towns and villages which are in the N4

The North West provincial government agreed with us that the toll fees must be reduced and they made a proposal of R58.00 which we accepted and the national department of transport have agreed to it but have since failed to implement.

Despite the fact that some of the five demands have not been met but we can today say that most of them have been met and the motorist of the province and the country have benefited from this campaign.

As we speak the toll fees have last been increased in 2011 and there have not been and increase for the past eight years. The road has been refurbished and work is still going on. The discount have been extended to all local areas despite the fact that motorist have to apply for them.

Yes, COSATU did not get the decrease it had wanted but the value of the toll fees have been eroded by inflation costs due to the fact that there has not been an increase over the past eight year.

COSATU calls on government to keep the toll fees as they are until all the two outstanding issues are resolved which are the release of the concession contract and the construction of the alternative road.

COSATU will continue to campaign against e tolling which includes the high toll fees at the Swartruggens toll gate. This campaign is part of our broader campaign against privatisation of public goods.

COSATU will also continue to engage government on the further reduction of the toll fees

Issued by Kopano Konopi, North West Provincial Secretary, Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)