Ian Ollis, shadow minister of transport, DA (Image courtesy of the Democratic Alliance)
Ollis said the costs of e-tolling have increased almost 200 per cent in the last two years, a statement he based on a reply to a parliamentary question posed by the DA: “SANRAL’s expenditure on advertising increased from ZAR30.4 million (US$ 3.022 million) in 2010 [to] 2011, to ZAR84.5 million (US$8.4 million) in 2012 [to] 2013.”
He said: “The reply is a clear indication that in the last two years, and since the announcement of e-tolling, SANRAL has changed its advertising patterns from awareness campaigns in 2010 [and] 2011 to mass e-toll propaganda in both 2011 [to] 2012 and 2012 [to] 2013 on television, radio and print media.”
Furthermore, Ollis made reference to full and half page advertisements appearing in various national newspapers which argue against alternative funding methods for road infrastructure and maintenance, such as the fuel levy, as suggested by the DA.
Ollis said the DA is planning to submit follow-up parliamentary questions, which will demand precise information pertaining to SANRAL’s expenditure on advertising since the 2010/11 financial year.
“The public must not be fooled by SANRAL’s tacky spin. As evidenced by the Portuguese example, e-tolls do not work and they do not create funding for road maintenance... The DA will continue to fight against unnecessary toll roads - where we govern now and where [we] are elected to govern in 2014,” he said.