HARARE – The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) says it will not allow government to introduce tollgates in urban areas as proposed by the ministry of Transport.
Government, this week said it is currently consulting with stakeholders on a proposal to introduce urban tollgates, with a view of increasing revenue for road rehabilitation.
But the country’s largest labour federation said it will not allow government to use “unscrupulous” means to raise revenue by “milking the already burdened residents”.
“ZCTU is vehemently opposed to this move and believes this will greatly inconvenience not only the motoring public but also workers as this would further increase the costs of transport for the already hard hit Zimbabweans,” ZCTU secretary-general, Japhet Moyo said.
“Already a lot of money is being paid through licenses and other charges, and tollgates in urban areas would worsen the plight of people,” he said.
“ZCTU believes the government is trying to bring the e-tolling through the back door, and like our colleagues in South Africa, we will resist the move,” Moyo said.
Transport minister, Obert Mpofu said the move to introduce tollgates in the city centre was aimed at improving the state of the city’s road network which he described as poor and deplorable.
“We will look at it with the view to address this anomaly in order to decongest our towns and generate revenue,” Mpofu said.
The urban tollgates, he said, will boost the budgets of municipalities and will ultimately result in a better road infrastructure.
“Any new progressive initiative attracts resistance but I’m sure every motorist in the country would want to drive on safe, wide and well-maintained roads. This is the ultimate that our motorists will get,” the minister said.
Harare town planner, Percy Toriro said the idea was noble but said vehicles should be on a pre-paid system and just scanned as they pass through to ensure that there is no congestion.
Other countries such as South Africa have been battling to introduce urban tollgates, with the labour body Cosatu, and opposition party, Democratic Alliance supporting Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) resistance to the move in the courts.