JOHANNESBURG – Trade union Cosatu hopes the change in leadership at the transport ministry signals good news for e-tolls opponents.
On Tuesday, President Jacob Zuma named energy minister Dipuo Peters as the new transport minister.
Protests against e-tolls – many organised by Cosatu – are still a regular occurrence.
Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) is currently embroiled in a court battle in the Supreme Court against e-tolls.
In a statement on Wednesday, Outa spokesperson Wayne Duvenage said, “We trust that minister Peters will have the principles of efficiency and ‘best outcomes for society’ on her agenda.”
Outa said it believed it was not too late to halt the current plans to electronically toll several major roads in Gauteng.
“The current e-toll plan does not have the required support of society for it to succeed,” it said.
“To simply forge ahead will do more harm than good and Outa would welcome constructive engagement in this regard from the minister.”
Also in opposition to the tolling, Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said, “We feel that e-Tolls are a huge mistake and perhaps having a new minister will be a good opportunity to abandon the policy which is becoming more and more unpopular.”
The federation plans to sit down with the newly appointed transport minister.
“We will try to meet with all the new ministers, it’s been our policy, because it’s not only e-tolls, there are many other areas where we have new ministers, where we would like to express a point of view,” said Craven.
Official opposition, the Democratic Alliance has also called on Peters to scrap the controversial system.
Zuma announced a Cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday afternoon in which Transport Minister Ben Martins became the new energy minister, swapping portfolios with Peters.