Sanral disputes DA claim that fuel levy is insufficient to maintain roads

2013-05-20 00:00

THE South African Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) misled the public when it claimed to lack funds, the Democratic Alliance alleged yesterday.

DA transport spokesperson Ian Ollis said statements by Sanral that a fuel levy to fund road infrastructure and maintenance was insufficient and that e-tolling was therefore necessary were untrue.

This comes after two studies by the Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) and the Southern African Bitumen Association (Sabita).

“Two independent studies confirm that the fuel levy provides enough funding for the construction and maintenance of our roads and that there is no need for the wholesale construction of toll roads,” Ollis said in a statement.

The AA study showed that the ideal maintenance budget for roads should have totalled R32 billion.

Ollis said the 2013 budget review indicated income from the fuel levy averaged more than R21 billion.

“The fuel levy is estimated to bring in R41,7 billion in the 2013/14 financial year.”

However, Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona dismissed the claims as “outlandish” and said he would respect a study conducted by the University of Cape Town instead of the one by the AA.

He said that the R40 billion collected through fuel levies last year was not enough to fund the maintenance of roads in the country.

“We need R20 billion for the Gauteng freeway improvement. That is already 50% of the the money from fuel levies gone.

“We then need R10 billion for roads in Mpumalanga, and another R8 billion for the N2 between East London and Durban.

“That is three projects in four provinces,” Mona told The Witness.

Mona said more than R340 billion was needed to address road infrastructure across the country.

He added that the government only had two sources of income — taxes and debt — and that it sometimes relied on the private sector.

“If the DA said ‘No, we do not accept the participation of the private sector’, then they must tell us where we must get the money from.”

Mona said anyone who had ever run a household would be able to see that such sums did not balance. — Witness Reporter.

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