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War of words continues between Sanral & Outa

Outa says it has more evidence Sanral overpaid for the Gauteng freeway project, misleading the nation.

An e-toll gantry on the N1 in Johannesburg. Picture: Christa van der Walt/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Organisation Uniting against Tax Abuse (Outa) has fired back at the South African National Road Agency Limited (Sanral), saying it has more evidence to prove that the roads agency overpaid for the Gauteng freeway project.

In a research report Outa released two months ago it claims Sanral paid 321 percent more than it was supposed to.

Sanral has accused the anti-tolling organisation of deliberately trying to tarnish its reputation and create lawlessness among motorists.

Outa's Wayne Duvenage says there is nothing wrong with its calculations and Sanral simply doesn't want to accept that it misused public money.

"Sanral likes to throw a whole lot of smoke into this issue. We stand by it and we've actually done further deeper research and found even more damning evidence."

But Sanral's Nazir Alli says Outa is misleading the public and investors.

"We can't afford to have a situation where there are wrong perceptions, that people don't have respect for our judiciary. I believe these very same people don't even respect our democracy."

Outa says it's clear the roads agency is embarrassed by the assertions and is trying to cover its tracks.

'OUTA CAN'T ALWAYS RUN TO THE COURTS'

Yesterday, Alli said the anti-tolling organisation can't always run to the courts when there's a disagreement.

"Their own expert calculation shows that it's only 152 percent. Why do they go ahead with that 'headlining-grabbing' 321 percent?"

Alli appealed to media to be 'responsible' in their reporting.

"Let me make an appeal to you guys. You have a great responsibility in terms of informing the public. [They] rely on you in terms of what you write and what you present."

Sanral has also come out against Outa's claims that it's corrupt and incompetent, saying the organisation is only trying to mislead the public.

Alli has questioned whether Outa had ulterior motives to deliberately tarnish the roads agency's reputation - or whether it was an honest mistake.

"Why is there such an insistence from this organisation to try and question and denigrate the integrity of Sanral?"

He said Outa has had sufficient time to respond to questions as to why they used incorrect calculations.

"Did we overpay or didn't we overpay? That is the questioning that we are asking. We went through a public tender process. Those were the prices that we got from the industry."

Sanral said Outa's figures are reckless.