Sanral bears brunt of lack of government clarity on e-tolls

The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) has collected R5.6-billion less in e-toll fees than budgeted, mostly because there is no clarity from government about the future of the system, Parliament has heard.

Briefing the standing committee on appropriations on Tuesday, treasury’s deputy director general on public finance Dr Mampho Modise highlighted the financial position of several entities for the 2017/18 financial year.

Sanral had a positive cash position of R7.6-billion which was 38% less than the R12.3-billion that was budgeted. Modise explained that during the year Sanral struggled to raise the R20.6-billion budgeted e-toll revenue.

READ MORE: The nightmare on e-toll street: Sanral is in massive debt that is mounting rapidly

“The noise generated around e-tolls have affected the performance of Sanral,” Modise said, adding: “The numbers are not looking well for Sanral.”

As a result of an inability to raise the required funds from e-tolls, Sanral is hampered in its ability to finance the maintenance of non-toll roads, having underspent R605-million on the road maintenance programme for these roads, according to treasury’s report.

“What this entity needs is the enforcement of a decision by government of what is going to happen or what should happen with e-tolls. Once that is done there’ll be some confidence in what government is planning to do with e-tolls,” said Modise.

Without having clear decisions from government regarding the future of e-tolls, Sanral is finding it difficult to go to the market to borrow funds to finance it.

Transport Minister Blade Nzimande in April told the portfolio committee on transport that he worries about the funding of road infrastructure development, particularly the financing of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project or e-tolls which is a “big issue”.

ARCHIVES: Sanral owed R543m in e-toll debt

“We will have to come up with a strategy of funding road construction and maintenance programmes on a sustainable basis,” he said at the time.

At Tuesday’s briefing, treasury also raised concerns over the financial position of the Road Accident Fund (RAF) and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa).

Prasa’s available cash at the end of the financial year was 12.3% more than expected at R13.8-billion, but treasury said that this was due to a lack of spending on the passenger rail entity’s maintenance and capital programme. The net cash flow from investing activities was 48.5% or R6.6-billion less than projected.

READ MORE: More suspensions looming at Transnet – Popo Molefe

Treasury and the department of transport are working with the entity to help it fast track spending on projects. If it cannot then treasury will reduce its allocations to Prasa, Modise warned.

The RAF on the other hand is struggling to keep up with the claims it receives, as they outweigh the income it gets from the road accident fuel levy. The levy was increased by 30c per litre this year, but even these funds can only cover current claims and not the backlog, Modise said.

The RAF’s cash available at the end of the year was R114.2-million less than the R1.68-billion which was budgeted. — Fin24

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Lameez Omarjee
Lameez Omarjee
Parliamentary reporter at Fin24.com
Advertisting

Test backlog skews SA’s corona stats

With thousands of samples still waiting to be processed, labs are racing to ramp up testing to help the government gain a better idea of how prevalent Covid-19 really is

M&G’s latest Covid-19 projections

Covid-19 numbers are prompting disaster declarations and dramatic action across South Africa this week. All steps should be directed by numbers

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories