SANRAL ordered to remove “misleading” e-toll adverts

SANRAL ordered to remove “misleading” e-toll adverts

South Africa’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld three complaints against claims made in South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) advertising commercials.

The first complaint was lodged by Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (OUTA) social media consultant Rob Hutchinson, along with a consumer, against a radio commercial thanking “people and organisations that have taken up 1.2 million tags for the Gauteng e-roads”, adding individuals had “recognised the benefits of the improved roads… keeping the lights on and the cameras watching over you”.

The ASA ruled SANRAL could provide no evidence of the number of e-tags sold.

In the second complaint, the ASA ruled the cameras were not “watching over you” as a safety measure, thus creating a “misleading impression, and exaggerates the functionality and the purpose of the cameras” since “they serve no safety purpose and are merely used for billing purposes”.

The third complaint, lodged by Stephen Haywood, said SANRAL’s claims of user’s monthly road costs were “flawed and ambiguous, if not disingenuous”.

SANRAL had claimed over 80 per cent of road users would pay less that ZAR100 (US$9.40) and one per cent would pay over ZAR400 (US$37.80) per month.

However, according to calculations submitted to the advertising body, these numbers are erroneous.

Haywood said less than eight per cent would pay less than ZAR100 and 10 per cent would pay more than ZAR400.

The ASA said SANRAL should withdraw the advertising with immediate effect, and that it “must not be used again in its current format unless new substantiation has been submitted, evaluated and accepted by means of a new Directorate ruling”.

OUTA has responded to the rulings by saying they are a demonstration of the importance of active citizenship.

“We and many others did not believe SANRAL’s claims in their advertising campaign when they were made months ago. These ASA rulings are significant because they once again portray SANRAL as an organisation that lacks transparency and cannot be trusted with their misleading advertising and PR campaigns,” said OUTA spokesperson John Clarke.

“We regard this as a serious matter for a State Owned Institution. SANRAL is not simply purveying propaganda, but using taxpayers money to desperate measures to broadcast factually incorrect information.”

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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