There is a massive difference between grudging compliance with and enthusiastic endorsement of the electronic tolling system, Outa said on Wednesday.
The caution of business bodies in advising members to comply “can hardly be construed as endorsement”, the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) said.
“What is particularly worrying is the extent to which Sanral’s PR spin has degenerated into gross fabrication, motivated by Sanral’s desperate efforts to manufacture the impression of enthusiastic compliance,” Outa chairman Wayne Duvenage said in a statement.
“There have been many examples of misrepresentation by Sanral, and this latest deception is just another incident which further destroys their credibility.”
On Tuesday, the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) said the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) had twisted its stance on e-tolling.
Sacci CEO Neren Rau said it wished to clarify its position on e-tolls.
“Sacci remains opposed to e-tolls because of the high collection costs and the overall burden the tolls will have on the economy,” he said in a statement.
“However, Sacci will advise its members to abide by the law if the e-toll law is implemented on December 3 because of the high cost of non-compliance.”
Rau said the organisation had been in talks with Outa about e-tolling, and that its concerns had been shared with the government.
Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona said on Tuesday that the company welcomed Sacci’s support for e-tolling.
“Big business is a vital part of the economy of not only this province, but of the country. It is therefore a significant endorsement to have its (Sacci’s) backing,” Mona said.
Sanral said it offered a number of e-tolling services to businesses, including bulk registration, and fleet registration.
The bulk registration service offered groups of people (in excess of 50) tolling registration at a venue of their choice.
The fleet registration service was offered to companies with fleets of vehicles.
Vehicle rental company Avis has also sought to clarify its stance on e-tolling.
“Unfortunately, some media incorrectly reported that Avis, by supporting the highway upgrades, also supports the implementation of e-tolls as the funding mechanism,” CEO Keith Rankin said on Wednesday.
“This view is incorrect…. We believe that there are more effective funding mechanisms than the proposed e-toll model.”
Last week, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters announced that the e-tolling of Gauteng’s highways would come into effect on December 3.