Govt mulls more money for Sanral

2012-05-31 17:25

Cape Town - Government is considering an appropriations bill to help Sanral meet payments on its R20bn debt, while Nazir Alli will "stay put" as the road agency's CEO, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe announced on Thursday.

Briefing the media in Cape Town, he said a failure by the SA National Roads Agency  to meet its debt repayments would have dire consequences for both it and the country.

"Government has to look at other ways of servicing that debt, which means taking away money from other allocations... hence the consideration of introducing this special bill to enable government to continue keeping Sanral in a healthy state of servicing the debt," Motlanthe said.

Sanral has borrowed and spent R20bn on Gauteng's highways, including the installation of an electronic tolling system, the start-up of which has been stalled by a court order.

Sanral has to repay a total debt, including interest, of R58bn over the next 24 years.

On April 28 this year, the North Gauteng High Court handed down an order preventing Sanral from levying or collecting e-tolls, pending the outcome of a judicial review.

Moody’s Investors Service subsequently cut Sanral’s credit rating status to Baa2 with a negative outlook.


Last week, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan approached the Constitutional Court in a bid to set aside the court order halting e-tolling.

Gordhan regarded his request as so urgent that he asked Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to convene the Constitutional Court during its annual July recess to hear the application.

On Thursday, Motlanthe argued, as Gordhan did in his application to the court, that High Court Judge Bill Prinsloo had ignored the principle of separation of powers.

"We take the view that the court judge Prinsloo over-stepped the line in terms of essentially imposing a moratorium on the collection of fees, which has huge implications, because Sanral has contractual obligations," he said.

"If there is delay in payment, the period is reduced and so it creates very serious financial challenges to government as a whole." The deputy president - who chairs an inter-ministerial committee handling the Sanral matter - was flanked at Thursday's briefing by Gordhan, Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane and Environment Minister Edna Molewa.

Cabinet appointed the special committee a month ago to co-ordinate the government's response to the court judgment and ensure Sanral’s financial stability was not compromised.

Gordhan told journalists that the appropriations bill under consideration would cover the period up to the end of this year.

R270m loss a month

He said Moody's estimate was that Sanral would lose R270m a month for each month toll fees are not collected.

"That could increase, if you take certain operational costs and so on, by some estimates [to] R500m to R600m per month.

"We could be looking at a period of between now to the end of the year, including any debt repayments that Sanral has to undertake, and we believe there is a payment due in January [next year] that will also have to be taken care of."

Gordhan said the additional appropriations would "try to take the next period, of possibly six months or so, and give both Sanral and its debtors the assurance that government is setting aside the money to meet the cash flow requirements of Sanral".

He emphasised that the budget deficit would not be increased.

"Let me say very emphatically... that nothing that we do is going to increase our deficit. Everything... will be within the current fiscal envelope.

"The deficit remains intact and we'll have to find the money in some other way. That would mean either raising user-charges, or taxes, or 'haircuts' in government, or whatever the case might be. We'll see what the best option [will be]."

Gordhan noted that Parliament would soon go into recess, "so when we come back, we'll have a better idea of whether we need the additional bill, where we're going to get the money from, and what are the amounts which need to be allocated to Sanral".

Motlanthe, responding to a question, re-affirmed Cabinet's decision to impose the e-tolling system.

Alli to remain CEO

"As of now, the decision of Cabinet stands."

On Sanral CEO Nazir Alli, who resigned a month ago, Motlanthe said he would remain in place.

"There is no search for a new CEO," he told journalists.

Asked if this meant Alli had withdrawn his resignation, he said Sanral's board had received the resignation, but Alli had proffered it in the belief that he was not contributing towards solving Sanral's problems.

"We received a letter of resignation... [but] indeed the problem did not revolve around him... So there was an understanding he stays put."

The board had still to formally deal with the matter.

Ndebele told journalists what Alli had been trying to do with his resignation was say: "If I'm the problem, I want to remove myself."

However, the government felt Alli was not the problem.

"So that [his resignation] is not on... So we need to continue, particularly in this [coming] period, because we need all the experience that we have... we want all hands on deck," Ndebele said.

In a statement later on Thursday, the SA Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (Safcec) welcomed Alli's decision to withdraw his resignation.

"[Safcec] is looking forward to continue to working together with Sanral in a constructive manner in improving the road infrastructure of South Africa," it said.

  • Wouter - 2012-05-31 18:04

    Stop stealing and there WILL be money to pay the debts.

      Tebz001 - 2012-05-31 22:54

      also if they stop giving tax money to criminals(Jackie Selebi and the likes) and spending tax money on hiring buses that take people to strike for stupid spear painting they could afford to pay back the billions they owe!!!!

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2012-05-31 18:12

    OUTA has not yet found out about our plans. Don't go now. Stick around, and become super rich. Richer than Ali Baba and his 40 entreprneurs.

  • Malans - 2012-05-31 18:15

    Mr Gordhan, the goose has been plucked to the skin. There are no feathers left, so you will have to get the money from the stealing comrats and use that to pay the debt. The standard, hard working, tax paying, good guy has had enough!

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2012-05-31 18:15

    Infrastructure. We have grand plans to develop infrastructure. Pay the loan with some of this money. Anyway, if you deal with thieves, the transaction is null and void. The people of S.A. don't want the toll roads, so this deal is not valid.

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2012-05-31 18:20

    "Motlanthe, responding to a question, re-affirmed Cabinet's decision to impose the e-tolling system" This is the only way we will be able to maintain our ANC lifestyles. Just listen to the engine of my Lamborghini through my ears. Taste the champagne through my lips. Everybody MUST buy e-tags.

  • Wanda - 2012-05-31 18:29

    Cut Mr Manyi salary and finance sanral. How's that Mr Budget?

  • Bless Boswell - 2012-05-31 18:36

    Let them mull. Mull over the thieves sitting at home on suspension on full pay. They really have a cheek. They steal from us and waste our hard earned taxes. Guess what? I have had enough. Go pick on someone else!

  • Rodney - 2012-05-31 18:39

    ANC...!.trying to put motlante in the position that can not favoured him in mangaung. They are using him in santral problem. Why zuma not step in as a big head.

  • ramaremisa.judia - 2012-05-31 18:44

    as a south african citizen we have nothing to do with this etolls . they have decided to install them now they \r\nwill have to pay it back . we wont pay for etolls thats it

  • Dave - 2012-05-31 19:09

    you voted them in now pay the price

  • Ditoa-re - 2012-05-31 19:49

    Who is lying? Gordan says 200M news24 reporting 270M that's a very big difference, South africans got money neh

  • Jay - 2012-05-31 20:15

    Dear SA Non Delivery Govt & Corrupt Scamral, The Battles & War will continue from us Law Abiding Tax Extorted Citizens But Enough is Enough! Nobody will force or threaten me to buy an e-Tag or take monies out of my account! People Power will rise again! Watch!! Nazir Ali and his devious, "selectively informing SCAMRAL" need to be open, transparent and totally honest towards ALL the Processes on e-Tolls. Just how can you all Bull-Doze this without public retaliation? Allow an OPEN & INDEPENDENT enquiry! Let the TRUTH be revealed! Time for Gordhan, Ndebele, Makhonyane & Wadee to start believing that the very same people that EMPLOY them will also BE RID OF THEM! I Rest My Case! DO NOT BY AN e-TAG! EVER!

  • Mike Purchase - 2012-05-31 20:16

    And where does government get its revenue from,again we are going to pay,or maybe not this time.

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2012-05-31 20:44

    And when, BTW, will the person who authorized this loan, which obviously does not meet with the approval of the people of S.A., be FIRED??

  • ronny.vusi - 2012-05-31 21:18

    Gov waist money, at the sametime the is no job for youth,again this Gov give the prisoner skills food for free, what about us youth in the location,the same GOV they are ening 1.5Mill a month.

  • renier.lubbe.7 - 2012-05-31 21:58

    SANRAL's new head office alone cost more than 100 million. Was such a lavish building really necessary or was it just part of the spending spree? All should support OUTA because the fight is far from over.

  • Warwick - 2012-06-01 08:30

    Nazi Ali has too much on the other anc cadres involved in this massive cover-up that will take place - they need time to destroy documentation etc. He is being put back in place so that his puppet masters can pull his strings and keep him quite. This whole e-toll saga is as corrupt as the arms deal, the anc have much too hide. The truth is that the anc are doing irreparable damage to the country, not the tax payers who are fighting back. Nazi Ali has no pride, no self-respect, he is clearly an anc deployed cadre whose strings can be pulled over backwards - hey ali, get a backbone you jellyfish. The anc are now the 'Master of Puppets'.

  • Allan - 2012-06-01 10:22

    ETolling has never been about the cost of resurfacing the Gauteng roads but rather to use it as an excuse to create a reoccurring income stream for the benefit of the ANC and its selected beneficiaries. You can smell the "angst" in what everyone in government is saying. They have been hiding the truth from the tax payer and international financiers. The "cost" is going to be high to everyone - greed is the only winner.

  • leonard.nel - 2012-06-02 13:32 click 'Like'

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