South Africa 25.1.2014 07:00 am

Big e-toll protest is ready to roll today

FILE PICTURE: An e-toll gantry is seen along the N1 South highway, 9 October 2013.  Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

FILE PICTURE: An e-toll gantry is seen along the N1 South highway, 9 October 2013. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Freight trucks, cars and motorcycles. That’s what you can expect to be clogging Gauteng’s e-roads today as civilians gear up for a protest against e-tolling.

Social network groups against e-tolls have joined forces in the “fight” – with the common thread being “when freedom is outlawed, only outlaws will be freed”, said organiser of Bikers Against E-tolls, James Sleigh.

“This is the sixth protest of the kind, but its looks like this will probably be the biggest in our history in the fight against e-tolling.”

Cosatu members marched in protest against amonst other things e-tolls from Cosatu house in Braamfontein to various key points in the city, 14 November 2013. Picture: Neil McCartney

Cosatu members marched in protest against amonst other things e-tolls from Cosatu house in Braamfontein to various key points in the city, 14 November 2013. Picture: Neil McCartney

Sleigh said over 2 000 motorists, 44 freight trucks and motor vehicles driven by those against the system were expected to gather in protest.

Just under 5 000 Facebook users have already indicated that they would attend, therefore the initial gathering point had to be changed to a larger venue, he said.

Anti e-tolling protestors are seen demonstrating under an e-toll gantry on the N1 South, 6 December 2012, during a drive slow protest. Picture: Refilwe Modise

Anti e-tolling protestors are seen demonstrating under an e-toll gantry on the N1 South, 6 December 2012, during a drive slow protest. Picture: Refilwe Modise

The motorcade would proceed from the Portuguese Hall on Wemmer Pan Road before heading on to the Comarro Road onramp.

It would then head north onto the N12 highway, passing Maraisburg and Gordon Roads, and up to the Linksfield Road off-ramp.

For the first time, motorists would be occupying all lanes of the highways, proceeding at 60kms per an hour, said Sleigh.

“So what you can expect is your regular Friday afternoon traffic.”

The Quadraplegic and Paraplegic association of South Africa went to the e-Toll customer center in Sandton, 3 December 2013. They went to inquire about an exemption for disabled people that was promised. They burned a wheelchair in defiance after they were told to leave the building without any word on their exemption.  Picture: Neil McCartney

The Quadraplegic and Paraplegic association of South Africa went to the e-Toll customer center in Sandton, 3 December 2013. They went to inquire about an exemption for disabled people that was promised. They burned a wheelchair in defiance after they were told to leave the building without any word on their exemption. Picture: Neil McCartney

One emergency lane would be left open. Sleigh said the protest will be indicative of the amount of frustration e-tolls has unleashed among motorists.

E-tolling began on December 3.

“We are fed up and we are taking to the streets. The groups have united, all singing from the same song sheet but just in different tones,” he said.

“Our members are all fighting to be the first to be prosecuted. Our stance is we will not tag and we will not pay.”

The protest has been granted a permit by the Johannesburg Metro Police Department, which Sleigh described as having been a smooth process.

Other similar protests would be conducted in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, King Williams Town, Durban and Bloemfontein.

 

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