Raised deficit not option for e-toll debt

Government is weighing its options in raising the shortfall in funds to meet contractual obligations for the e-tolling system. (Lisa Skinner, M&G)

Government is weighing its options in raising the shortfall in funds to meet contractual obligations for the e-tolling system. (Lisa Skinner, M&G)

But it insists it will not increase the deficit to do so.

Meanwhile, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Thursday that South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) chief executive Nazir Alli, who handed in his resignation in early May, would now remain behind the wheel of the government agency.

Motlanthe told a press conference in Cape Town that the government was considering introducing an additional appropriation Bill while it waited for the outcome of its appeal against an interdict on the project. This would allow it to allocate funds to the department of transport outside of normal budgeting processes.
 
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said it was not yet known where the money would come from and that different options, such as higher taxes or cuts to departmental budgets, were being considered.
“Nothing that we do will increase our deficit,” he said.

Referring to Alli’s resignation, Transport Minister S’bu Ndebele said: “It was his way of saying: ‘If I am the problem, I will remove myself.’” In a release issued later on Thursday, the department said Alli had been asked to withdraw his resignation in the interest of ­continuity at Sanral.

Motlanthe said an interministerial committee on the e-tolling project felt that Judge Bill Prinsloo had overstepped the line when he imposed a moratorium on the collection of fees. He said the Constitutional Court would now have to decide whether the courts were obstructing the state’s duties in this matter.

Lisa Steyn

Lisa Steyn

Lisa Steyn is a business reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She holds a master's degree in journalism and media studies from Wits University. Her areas of interest range from energy and mining to financial services and telecommunication. When she is not poring over annual reports, Lisa can usually be found pottering about the kitchen. Read more from Lisa Steyn

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