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Sanral lashes out at Outa for undermining road-funding efforts

Calls on government to hold Outa and other special interest groups to account for ‘illegal’ e-toll civil disobedience campaign.

The SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) has lashed out at its detractors, including the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), claiming national efforts to secure funding for the maintenance of South Africa’s high-quality road network are being undermined by narrow-minded groups that encourage people to break the law.

Skhumbuzo Macozoma, CEO of Sanral, stressed it’s time that government and the citizens of South Africa hold Outa to account for the civil disobedience campaigns that are contributing to the long-term destruction of critical road infrastructure.

Macozoma said it’s outrageous that an organisation such as Outa can criticise a decision by the New Development Bank (NDB) to extend a R7 billion loan for road infrastructure development projects.

Read: Brics Bank’s first local-currency loan is for South Africa roads

“Outa’s malicious actions are designed to destroy Sanral and deprive South African citizens of world-class national road infrastructure,” he said.

Wayne Duvenage, CEO of Outa, said the organisation finds it “quite amusing” that Macozoma has blamed it for Sanral’s dire financial situation.

“The problem with Sanral is their continuous lack of transparency to enable the public – who are ultimately going to pay for Sanral’s loans – to clearly understand what this latest R7 billion loan is being borrowed for.”

Sanral’s attack on Outa was sparked by the organisation expressing concern that Sanral has taken out another R7 billion loan, thereby entrenching itself deeper in debt, when the agency already has “a sizeable interest-bearing debt of R47 billion”.

Macozoma said Sanral is doing its best in tough economic conditions and unfavourable bond markets to secure funding for road development.

Macozoma said the loan from the NDB shows international confidence in Sanral’s capabilities, despite the destructive comments from Outa.

He said Outa and other special interest groups have led an ‘illegal’ civil disobedience campaign to encourage citizens not to comply with their legal obligations to pay e-tolls. “It is thanks to them the level of non-compliance on the network is low and the much-needed extension of the Gauteng freeway network cannot proceed.”

However, the results of research conducted by the Automobile Association (AA) released last month revealed that more than 52% of motorists indicated there was nothing government could do to convince them to start paying their e-tolls on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), with 78.4% of motorists citing government corruption as the reason for deciding not to pay their e-tolls.

President Cyril Ramaphosa established a task team led by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula that had to report to him by the end of last month on the options regarding e-tolls.

Macozoma said the funds from the NDB will enable Sanral to bring forward much-needed improvements to toll road infrastructure across the country, which were delayed because of the declining income for the GFIP.

He said Sanral continues to look for more funding options to address the backlog of R140 billion in toll roads projects that are currently without funding.

Transparency needed

Duvenage said what the public requires is transparency on why the NDB loan was needed, especially in light of the fact that the NDB statement said this funding is being applied to the National Toll Roads Strengthening and Improvement Programme.

“As far as we are concerned, funding for tolled roads comes from the collection of tolls on those road networks and we would like to know if this funding is going toward the GFIP bonds (for e-tolled roads) or other Sanral-managed toll roads that are supposed to be self-funding.

“We don’t believe these funds are being allocated to the concessionaire tolled routes (N3TC, Bakwena and TRAC) and would be extremely concerned if this was the case,” he said.

Duvenage added that the NDB statement on the Sanral loan states that the scope of the project includes rehabilitation of the pavement for the existing toll sections of national roads, construction of additional lanes to widen such roads, and rehabilitation of related infrastructure, such as bridges and intersections.

He said this indicates that some of the funding may be for routine maintenance of existing toll roads, which Outa believes should be covered by the existing toll collections.

But Macozoma said Outa has through its statements once again demonstrated its very poor knowledge of toll road management and road network management in general.

Macozoma said Outa fails to understand that toll schemes are financed through upfront capital that is mobilised from investors for road road improvements and are then funded through road user charges over the lifetime of a road.

“To argue that users are paying toll fees and that Sanral should not be borrowing further funds is evidence of a lack of knowledge by an organisation that has its own questionable track record on governance and financial issues,” he said.

Sanral last month reported it would issue major road construction tenders to the value of more than R40 billion to the construction sector, over the next two to three years and announced last week that it would put out to tender contracts worth billions of rands for the upgrading of the N2 and N3 “over the ensuing weeks”.

Read: Sanral to issue R40bn in road-building tenders

Tenders include the upgrading of the N2 from Kwamashu Interchange to Mhloti Interchange, upgrading of the N3 from Cato Ridge to Dardanells and from Dardanells to Lynnfield Interchange.

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No, Mr Macozoma. The problem is that SANRAL is unable to plan, build or operate a toll road without breaking a raft of laws.

The SA motorist is not required to fund unlawfulness, and OUTA – and anyone else who cares – is quite right to challenge such conduct.

If Macozoma and his board of gun-slingers were convinced of their case, they would do what they have yet to do in six years since the Gauteng e-tolls project went live: charge a single motorist criminally under S27 of the SANRAL Act for failure to pay toll, and place their faith in the Constitutional Court to find in SANRAL’s favour.

Reality: they won’t, because the Winelands Project was a litany of unlawfulness, to the extent that the CC declined to even hear SANRAL’s appeal. GFIP is near-identical, and hence SANRAL can’t risk such a court case and has to keep itself out of the gutter by cobbling together dodgy loans at further risk to the fiscus.

Mr Macozoma, when the organisation you run starts abiding by the law, we might be interested in hearing from you. Until then, try ‘leadership’ instead of being such a tragic crybaby.

And we can we hold accountable for the Soweto escom account ? are we calling em to order ???

The ANC actively encouraged civil disobedience of the population not to pay for municipal electricity and utility services. This has created a culture of non payment in our country.
This culture remains alive and well with no signs whatsoever of correction. Every few years just before elections noises are made to rectify this, however the Ruling Party would not dare to institute such corrective action as they would loose massive support. This why we and ESKOM are where we are.
Please go and sweep in front of the Ruling Party’s door first before sweeping in front of OUTA’S door.

On a second note, when E-Tolls were first considered, it was put forward to add a few cents to the cost of every litre of petrol. The collection mechanism would be so simple and easy and the users would pay.
Oh no, that is far too easy and simple. Lets complicate the matter with installing countless gantries, massive IT systems, massive international system licensing costs and the costs of a massive administrative monster called SANRAL.

And the business that makes money from the roads will not pay e-toll.

When they sat through the presentation by the Austrians, they were impressed with the bling of the electronics, how easy it was to just print money from motorists’ bank accounts – too good to be true – and then when they heard about the hidden benefits, both personal and for the party, their minds were made up. Then it became the “user pays” principle. That of course is excluding SABC, SAA, Electricity, Municipal services etc etc etc. Road levy included in the fuel price? Nah, that money is bespoken for by the Corruptheid State – Gupta said so. We will hire Ali Baba and his E-toll Thieves to sell the idea. No problem!

And we can hold WHO accountable for the Soweto ESCOM account ? are we calling em to order as well ???

Eskom. Who can we hold responsible for the public education system that taught you how to spell?

Maybe (s)/he is not poorly educated but rather just has a memory of not so long ago when Evkom and Escom were used interchangeably because the name is actually a shortening of Electricity Supply Commission. Escom actually makes sense in English as that shortening but not in Afrikaans with a “k”…where did you learn your history?

Ancient history? Does the public education system not inform people that it is 2019? Pitiful defense.

People need not fear government, but gov should fear the people. Lol

If the GFIP project wasn’t plagued from the start with a blatantly crooked deal with a company PROVEN overseas to be guilty of paying bribes, SA’s motorists might have complied. But with farcical pre-consultation and a ‘sell’ based on the World Cup, SANRAL blithely went ahead with multi-billion rand etolls; ANC fatcats gleefully hoping to pocket rich rewards. Instead, the whole disastrous mess has blown up in your face. Mr Macozoma, you know precisely what you can do with your accusations against a totally legitimate organisations like OUTA.

Macozoma said the loan from the NDB shows international confidence in Sanral’s capabilities, despite the destructive comments from Outa.

Conveniently forgot to mention:

The 15-year loan to the South African National Roads Agency will be guaranteed by the country’s government and still needs the approval of the transport and finance ministers.

Just add it on to the tab. Christmas comes early for the construction mafia.

“Skhumbuzo Macozoma, CEO of Sanral, stressed it’s time that government and the citizens of South Africa hold Outa to account for the civil disobedience campaigns that are contributing to the long-term destruction of critical road infrastructure.”

It looks like it’s Outa and the citizens of South Africa that are holding SANRAL and the ANC to account (civil disobedience campaigns) for their theft and plunder.

Stop the theft and plunder and the civil disobedience campaigns will stop too. See magic.

Do I recall Wayne Duvenhage prancing down the road shouting “with these matches” we will …….. ? Not sure. “With these e-tags”? Or maybe not. Maybe I’ve got it all wrong. My memory is not as good as it used to be.

Use the fuel levy money or put another way, stop looting and use tax revenue for what it is supposed to be used for.

That was the apartheid apparatchik finance minister Barend du Plessis’ doing if I’m not mistaken – lifting the ring fence around the fuel levy originally designed to fund road maintenance. The more kilometres you drive, the more road you use, the more fuel you pay for and ultimately you pay for the road you use. Simple formula, simple method of collection. Perfect “user pays” principle being applied. It’s not broken so let’s fix it to suit the Corrupthied State. Out of the frying pan into the the fire – Nats to ANC.

Do stop deflecting, Macozoma, it’s makes you look childish and vindictive.

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