The South African National Roads Agency has said that it disagrees with the ruling of the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) that its recent e-toll advertisement was misleading.
The Sanral advertisement stated that the government had reduced the toll rate to “30 cents per kilometre for light motor vehicles and slashed the monthly cap by 50%”.
It added that “if you have outstanding e-toll fees dating back to December 2013, you will receive a 60% discount and 6 months to pay”.
An ASA complaint was lodged, which argued that the commercial was misleading in that it suggested the new dispensation and associated discounts were available to motorists.
The complainant said the 60% discount was not yet active and consumers would pay more than they believed they were liable for.
The ASA ruled that the advertisement was misleading, and that Sanral should withdraw the advertisement.
Sanral has now slated this ruling, arguing that it had not been its intention to mislead the public.
“The advert was aimed at communicating the message that Government has heard the people and responded with a new dispensation that included the 60% discount,” said Sanral.
Sanral said that when the details of the new dispensation were announced, it was made clear that the new system would be implemented in phases, and the adverts were not a public call to action.
Full implementation of the new dispensation required a number or regulatory and system changes which had to be accommodated through a phased roll-out, it said.
Sarnal stated that information about the implementation of the new dispensation was being communicated through the e-toll customer contact centre.
“Sanral believes that this issue should not have come before ASA, because the adverts are no longer being flighted, which in effect makes ASA’s decision null and void.”
The agency said there appeared to be a campaign against Sanral, and speculated that the complaint may have served only to draw the ASA in as a participant in their campaign.