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E-toll protest brings woman to tears

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By Brendan Roane

A woman who tried to pass through Monday’s drive-slow by Cosatu was left in tears after demonstrators blocked her route and surrounded her car.

Many parts of Pretoria’s CBD were brought to a standstill as the Cosatu motorcade drove at a snail’s pace in opposition to e-tolling, while the roads around it were blocked off by the traffic police.

Along Francis Baard Street, the demonstrators stopped at the intersection with Jeppe Street.

A car tried to pass through, but some of the protesters stood in front of the vehicle, and someone put a tyre underneath the car to stop it from moving.

A woman in the passenger seat got out of the car and started shouting at the protesters, who sang and danced around the vehicle.

“A man told us to turn this corner and the next thing this mob came and threw a tyre under our car,” said her husband, who also declined to give his name.

His wife sat in the passenger seat crying while some of the demonstrators argued whether to let them through.

Eventually, the protesters removed the tyre and chair, and the couple could drive on.

Starting at an old bus depot on Struben Street, the drive-slow stopped at almost every intersection, and the protesters would disembark, then dance and sing songs against the e-tolls.

Some people in the crowd lifted handwritten signs with slogans such as “e-toll blood sucker”.

At the corner of Struben and Lilian Ngoyi streets, some taxi drivers managed to drive through the motorcade, seemingly frustrated at having to wait.

One taxi driver said although he was against e-tolling, he disagreed with the drive-slow.

Opinion between the motorists stuck in traffic seemed split.

“My meeting has started now, I’ve missed it. Tell me, what makes this legal?” asked one man, who said he was a government employee.

But Victor Strydom, who estimated that the interruption would add about an hour onto his journey time, said: “I don’t mind waiting because it’s for a good cause and it affects all of us.” - The Star

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