Sanral asks banks for R1.48bn as it nears ‘critical stage’

2013-07-31 14:27

The SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) is approaching several banks in the hope of raising R1.48 billion.

Sanral’s toll and traffic manager Alex van Niekerk said today the bulk of the amount needed was to service debt on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).

“We are reaching the stage, in the next three months, when it will become critical,” he said.

E-tolling to fund the project had not yet started, but the monthly cost of the necessary infrastructure amounted to about R25 million.

Van Niekerk said he could not name the commercial banks Sanral was approaching for the loan.

Sanral’s business comprised two portfolios: the non-toll portfolio which accounted for 84%, and which was financially healthy. The remaining 16% was the toll portfolio component, which included the GFIP.

Sanral was not facing bankruptcy, because only the smaller portfolio had cash flow problems. This had not yet affected Sanral’s capacity to maintain other existing toll roads, Van Niekerk said.

However, new projects to extend highways had not been put out to tender because Sanral was reluctant to take on more debt at present.

He could not say when e-tolling was likely to become a reality. This depended on the adoption of the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill and the pending legal battle about e-tolling.

Sanral said in April it would begin e-tolling on Gauteng’s roads within two months. The Opposition to Urban Tolling Allowance (Outa) had been fighting the implementation of e-tolling in the courts.

On January 25, the Constitutional Court granted Outa leave to take the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein. The case is expected to be heard in September.

Van Niekerk said Sanral had “no reason ... to not be confident” about the outcome of the legal battle, as the courts had twice found in its favour.

Last April, the high court in Pretoria granted Outa an interdict approving a full judicial review before electronic tolling could be put into effect.

The interdict prevented Sanral from levying or collecting e-tolls, pending the outcome of a review. Sanral and the National Treasury appealed the court order.

In September, the Constitutional Court set aside the interim order. In December, the high court in Pretoria dismissed Outa’s application to scrap e-tolling.

Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona said Sanral still hoped to “win the hearts” of Gauteng motorists.

The public should bear in mind that government made policy and it was Sanral’s job to implement that policy, he said.

“If we had it our way, we would not even get involved in funding.”

He said the GFIP relied on the “user pays” principle in much the same way as was envisaged for the National Development Plan (NDP).

“The great majority are raving about the NDP. Contained in there, the user pays principle features,” Mona said.

“We think South Africans are reasonable, we think they will come round (to e-tolling).”

Earlier, it was reported that the agency had run out of money, with debt totalling R65 billion, including interest. The agency reportedly borrowed R20 billion from local and foreign investors to fund the GFIP.

Plans to introduce e-tolling on these freeways had encountered resistance from various sectors of society.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.