Sanral owes R20bn - Ramaphosa

2015-06-10 17:50
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (GCIS)

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Cape Town - The SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) still owes about R20bn on its various bonds, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday.

"Sanral owes something like R20bn. The money was raised through a variety of bonds that have certain time frames," he said during a question and answer session in the National Assembly.

Ramaphosa also addressed the "new dispensation" of e-tolls in Gauteng, saying government sometimes had to take unpopular decisions.

"There comes a time when a government must take difficult decisions and act in the best interests of the country and its citizens," he said.

"Sometimes, the decisions government takes are unpopular. That is precisely what has happened [with e-tolls]."

He said people in Gauteng were not opposed to the user-pay principle for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), but rather the high toll tariffs.

'Government responded positively'

Ramaphosa mentioned that an independent panel had also found that while the GFIP benefited the economy, in its current form it had placed a disproportionate burden on low and medium income households.

"Government responded positively and we are reducing the tariffs," he said. 

"We must accept that the reduction has been to the benefit of those people. [Sanral] is receiving thousands of calls from people asking to access the benefits announced.

"Road tolling did not start with the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project. We have had it for many years. You just need to get into a car and drive from Johannesburg to Durban. You will pass no less than seven toll [gates].

He said the "new dispensation" was a tripartite solution where the national fiscus, Gauteng and the users all contributed.

Ramaphosa said using the fuel levy for the GFIP had been considered.

"If you were to use the fuel levy for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, you could not exempt those who travel in buses and taxis - those tend to be poor people," he said.

"The fuel levy was considered so thoroughly, [but it was determined]... that it would discriminate against the poor and lower income [people]."

He said the rise in the fuel levy would also cause taxi drivers and bus companies to up their own tariffs.

When asked if e-tolling would be used in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, he responded: "I have not looked at the internal plans of Sanral."

Read more on:    sanral  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  transport

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