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Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance should stop using e-tolling for political gain, the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) said on Tuesday.
“Sanral calls on the DA to stop using e-tolling as a political football for electioneering and stick to the facts,” spokesman Vusi Mona said in a statement.
“The DA is using e-tolling as an electioneering strategy and is continuously misrepresenting the facts to win votes in next year's elections and Sanral is not going to entertain politics.”
Mona was reacting to a statement by DA MP Ian Ollis on Monday after he asked Transport Minister Dipuo Peters in Parliament how much the roads agency “is planning to spend on advertising relating to the e-toll system in Gauteng”.
Peters said Sanral was set to spend R85 million this year on advertising its controversial e-tolling plans in Gauteng.
An amount of R23.3m had been spent to date.
On Monday, Ollis said e-tolling would not benefit Gauteng residents and would hit the poor the hardest “by increasing the price of doing business, resulting in food price increases and inevitably undermining economic growth and job creation”.
Mona said it was important to note that the toll portfolio spans more than the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project and that Sanral's position has always been that the “advertising spend is proportional to its communications objectives”.
“It is Sanral's responsibility to educate road users on how to become compliant. It is also very much part of driving public awareness,” said Mona.
“One can only imagine the criticism had Sanral not communicated essential information such as how and where to obtain e-tags.”
Mona said the adverts were already been rolled out in the various media platforms and Sanral was adamant it would spend the allocated funds to educate the public.
He said the agency understood that those opposed to e-tolling would try their best to cast every aspect in a negative light.
“We understand the politicking but we aren't interested in it,” said Mona.