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Sanral defends advertising budget

The DA has criticised Sanral for spending millions on advertising to promote e-tolls.

FILE: A motorist uses the N12 highway, a proposed toll road in Johannesburg on Thursday, 15 November 2012. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) has defended its spending of millions of Rands on advertising to promote the controversial e-tolling project.

On Monday, the Democratic Alliance (DA) criticised the roads agency for spending millions on what it called "propaganda" for a system being rejected by society.

Sanral defended its decision to widely advertise e-tolling on the basis that the system is new and the public needs to learn more about it.

The roads agency told Eyewitness News advertising is part of any new programme.

But the DA claims it's a waste of money and has promised to search for a legal loophole which could enable government to pull out of the multibillion Rand project.

Sanral also defended its oversight in not delivering all of the documents relating to the project to the DA.

The roads agency said there is nothing sinister about the missing documents and these will be delivered to the DA.

Earlier this month, the DA confirmed it would receive its own copy of the 6,000 page e-toll system contract.

The DA's shadow transport minister Ian Ollis said the party would finally be able to scrutinise the entire document.

He said the contract would shed light on the monthly fee Sanral owes its subcontractors and suppliers.

Ollis said this was the first time Sanral had promised to make the entire e-toll contract available to the party.

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) welcomed the progress made by the DA to secure its own copy of the contract.

Outa Chairperson Wayne Duvenage said the public is now one step closer to finding out more details regarding the contract.

"Let's see if we can expose what is really wrong with e-tolling, which we already know is very costly. There's far too much of the taxpayers' money going offshore to enrich listed companies overseas. That's what is fundamentally wrong and makes it so expensive."

The Supreme Court of Appeal will hear a challenge lead by Outa against e-tolling next month.