Toll decisions will affect future

By Drum Digital
04 May 2012

Decisions taken on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) will have implications for how future infrastructure projects are financed, Minister Collins Chabane said on Friday.

It was necessary to guard against decisions and actions that might impact negatively "on our track record in the prudent management of government finances", he told reporters after Cabinet's regular fortnightly meeting.

Chabane is Minister of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation. He was speaking in Pretoria, and the briefing was relayed via a video link to Cape Town.

He said the government had to act responsibly, and ensure it and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) honoured their financial obligations timeously, he said.

"Government must also ensure that nothing compromises the huge infrastructure programme which is crucial for raising the level of South Africa's economic growth, and for raising the standard of living of citizens, especially the poor and unemployed."

Chabane said the government understood the concerns and issues raised by South Africans regarding e-tolling. This was why it had gone some way to provide relief to motorists by making R5.75 billion available to the SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral).

Cabinet had appointed a special committee to be chaired by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to co-ordinate all work around the GFIP. Committee members included the ministers of transport, finance, public enterprises, Chabane himself, and the director general in the presidency.

The committee would, among other things, move rapidly to ensure Sanral's financial stability was not affected in any way.

"The committee will assess government's response to the North Gauteng [Pretoria] High Court ruling and other related matters."

It would also meet appropriate stakeholders to find constructive solutions and consensus on the outstanding matters.

"Government would also like to reiterate that the R20 billion investment in the GFIP which started in 2007 will benefit the residents and the economy of Gauteng, which is the major driver of national economic activity," Chabane said.

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