NATIONAL NEWS - Sanral is using an award it received for its controversial e-tolling system to give the project legitimacy, the DA said on Wednesday.
"For this... [the award] to be used as support for the building of toll roads, is just plain ludicrous," Democratic Alliance MP Ian Ollis said in a statement.
"It is nothing more than a pathetic attempt to try and find good reasons for toll roads in South Africa when none exist," he said.
"If anything, it has completely backfired on Sanral, because receiving an award for e-tolling from a group whose major aim is to promote e-tolls is laughable at best."
The SA Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) announced on Tuesday it had been awarded the 2013 Toll Excellence Award by the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) in the technology category.
The awards were based on nominations from the IBTTA's 26 member countries in the categories of technology, customer service, administration, operations and social responsibility.
Sanral nominated itself, describing its e-tolling system as high-tech and a world first.
Ollis said the award could only be granted to members of IBTTA, and that annual membership was nearly R110,000. He claimed Sanral had paid its membership fees with public funds.
Sanral spokesman Vusi Mona said the money for the subscription had come from its own budget.
"This is not the only organisation we are a member of. Sanral is not the first and only government agency in South Africa, or the world, to belong to an organisation of this nature," he said.
Mona said it interacted with organisations globally. He said Sanral was taken aback by the DA's "pettiness and sour grapes".
"We were announced as the winner by a reputable international association. What is becoming clear is that their opposition has nothing to do with the work of Sanral, but rather politics.
"I would appeal to the DA that it should be careful not to destroy a national asset that belongs to all South Africans."
Ollis said the DA would submit parliamentary questions to Transport Minister Ben Martins about how many memberships were held by his department and its reporting entities, how they were decided and their costs and benefits.
The awards would be presented at IBTTA's annual meeting in Vancouver, Canada, on September 23.