Johannesburg - The SA National Roads Agency Limited's (Sanral's) spending on advertising has increased 200% in the past two years, Transport Minister Ben Martins has indicated in a parliamentary reply.
He said in the reply on Wednesday that Sanral's advertising expenditure increased from R30.4m in 2010/11, to R84.5m in 2011/12 and R87.1m in 2012/13.
Democratic Alliance MP Ian Ollis said on Thursday the figures were a "clear indication" that Sanral had changed its advertising patterns from awareness campaigns to "mass e-toll propaganda".
"Full-page and half-page advertisements have appeared in most national newspapers, falsely arguing against alternative funding mechanisms for road maintenance and infrastructure, such as a fuel levy," Ollis said.
He said the DA would submit follow-up parliamentary questions requesting an exact cost breakdown of Sanral's advertising expenditure since the 2010/11 financial year.
"The public must not be fooled by Sanral’s tacky spin," he said.
Sanral said the increase was budgeted for and included advertising for all its operations.
"Any new initiative such as e-tolling will accrue an increased advertising spend as it must be supported through marketing," it said.
"It is also very much part of driving public awareness and public participation... very similar to the DA's ‘know your DA campaign’ or their notorious marketing spend to market their endeavours in the Western Cape."
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