What Sanral seeks in Nazir Alli's successor

Nazir Alli. (Lisa Hnatowicz)
Nazir Alli. (Lisa Hnatowicz)

Cape Town - The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral), which is advertising for a new chief executive officer as current CEO Nazir Alli reaches retirement age in August, says it is looking for a person of influence who can develop a tactical plan to advance the company’s mission.

READ: Sanral seeks new CEO, Alli due for retirement

Alli's "last day in the office will be determined by the minister of transport, in consultation with Sanral’s board, subsequent to the appointment of the new CEO and a hand-over period”, said Sanral board chair Roshan Morar in a statement on Monday.

Alli has been at the helm of the organisation since its inception in 1998, and has been at the forefront of modernising South Africa’s national road network for 17 years.

Under Alli's leadership, Sanral has grown from managing a road network of 7 200 km in 1998 to 21 403 km currently, which is expected to grow to 35 000 km in the future. "The roads and other related infrastructure that have been built by Sanral under his auspices are of outstanding quality, and have won numerous global awards in engineering excellence," said Sanral.

Unqualified audits for over a decade

It pointed out that Sanral has had unqualified audits for longer than a decade. "[Alli's] commitment to the country’s socio-economic transformational agenda ensured that educational institutions grew the next generation of engineers through an extensive programme of scholarships, bursaries and internships, in order to reflect the demographic reality of the country," said Sanral.

Through Alli’s active guidance, the roads agency has launched and sponsored chairs at three universities with the most recent a chair in science, mathematics and technology education at the University of the Free State.

However, his tenure has not been without controversy. Alli oversaw the construction of Gauteng's electronic tolling system, which has been widely rejected by Gauteng road users. Alli has slammed what he termed inaccurate reporting by the media, which he said feeds misperceptions about the e-tolls system.

READ: Alli slams media on e-tolls reporting

Alli rejected using the fuel levy to fund the roads, which opponents of the e-toll system had suggested be increased for this purpose, saying this is neither adequate, equitable, nor efficient.

Sanral has also come under scrutiny for the N1 and N2 Winelands toll roads, with the Supreme Court of Appeal overturning an earlier judgment which had allowed it to keep some information pertaining to the Western Cape project confidential.

READ: Sanral breaks its silence on Cape toll 'secret'

The search for the new CEO is already under way. Sanral lists its requirements as follows: "The ideal candidate should be a visionary leader who is also a qualified civil engineer. This person must have extensive experience at senior management level accompanied by a solid track record of leading a similar or similar sized organisation.

"He or she must be a person of influence, who will be charged with developing a tactical plan to advance the company’s mission, vision and objectives."

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