FUNERAL PYRE FOR E-TOLL BILLS: Hundreds of vehicles took part in a funereal slow-drive on Saturday (Oct 18 2014) to celebrate (perhaps prematurely) the death of the Gauteng E-toll system. Video: eNCA
PRETORIA, Gauteng - Protesters burned their unpaid e-toll bills on an empty coffin while singing the national anthem outside Sanral's offices in Pretoria on Saturday.
"Today we bury a stillborn that was born in December last year (2013) and before December this year we will cremate him," a Congress of SA Trade Unions member said in reference to the Gauteng's electronic tolling system.
A 50-vehicle convey led by Cosatu embarked on a drive-slow on Saturday morning from the trade union federation's HQ in Johannesburg to the SA National Roads Agency Limited offices. They were joined by bikers and taxi drivers.
"We will pay for e-tolls when [president Jacob] Zuma pays for Nkandla," said a biker.
The group later danced and sang outside the Sanral offices and some sang sang: "Voeksek, Sanral, voetsek," and "Sanral gaan vok jouself".
VIDEO: Coffin in e-toll protest
John Baun, owner of the Bronville Taxi Association, travelled from the Free State to be part of the campaign. He said he had to pay about R250 in e-toll fees when one of his taxis made a single trip to Gauteng. He said: "We drove through to support the campaign because e-tolls are crippling our businesses."
Earlier, drivers on the M1 hooted and cheered as the convoy made its way across the highway. Some drivers, however, were frustrated by the backlog caused by the convoy, which left only one lane out of three open.
One irritated driver called out to the convoy: "Is this what you do with your time?"
Banners inviting people to "Hoot against e-tolls" were draped across bridges on the highway and police were on the scene to divert traffic from the protest.
'SELLING OUR ROADS'
At times the protesters got out of their vehicles to sing and dance along the lanes usually filled with hurrying traffic.
Earlier in the week Cosatu Gauteng's secretary Dumisani Dakile said the protesters also planned to enact the "burning of the e-tags and the bills which had been received by our people". He accused Sanral of abusing more than R20-billion on upgrading the province's highways without consulting citizens.
He suggested Sanral was "selling our public roads to the highest bidder and to monopoly capital without caring about our country and its people".