South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) says that it regrets the comments made by spokesman Vusi Mona made “in jest” during an interview on radio, and has apologised “unreservedly” for any offence caused.
Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) head, Howard Dembovsky, on Thursday (16 January) called for Mona to step down, following an on-air comment he made in response to an e-toll query raised by a Talk Radio 702 listener on Wednesday (15 January).
The listener SMSed into the station asking the Sanral spokesman how people could make sure that text messages received from Sanral regarding e-tolls were not a scam.
Mona responded: “Very easy. Raise your IQ a little bit…”
Dembovsky raised concern about the appropriateness of the comment, saying “as a public servant and an employee of a State Owned Enterprise, Mr Mona has a duty to demonstrate respect for members of the public”.
“He should know better than to openly and blatantly insult a member of the public who was simply asking a legitimate question of him,” he said.
Sanral regrets the comment Vusi Mona made in jest to the listener who sent a text message questioning the authenticity of the Sanral SMSs received by motorists. The Agency is of the opinion that Mr Mona’s comment is now being blown out of proportion by JPSA, this as the listener has not followed up with a complaint. If the listener was offended, that was not the intention and Mr Mona tenders his apology unreservedly to him/her.
We know where the JPSA stands in relation to e-tolling. Personalising the issue and calling for Vusi Mona’s resignation is unreasonable considering his continued effort to engage the media and motorists while ensuring that issues are clarified and where necessary redirected.
Sanral urges all motorists with e-toll related issues to please contact the Sanral call centre on 0800 726 725 in order to clarify the issue. Discussing these issues in the media space, social or otherwise will not resolve them.