Johannesburg - The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) on Friday gave a peek into its plans for South Africa's roads leading up to 2030.
Toll roads will remain part of the plans, with the roads agency announcing that the concessions to manage and operate toll roads will only be awarded to companies with a 51% black ownership.
To reduce monopolies, the agency will limit the number of contracts awarded to established and dominant industry players, Sanral said.
The roads agency said it has initiated a new, long-term strategy which articulates its vision and the necessary strategic and tactical interventions needed to deliver on its objectives. It said it has learned valuable lessons in its three decades as the custodian of SA's national road network.
Called Horizon 2030, the agency's new long-term strategy will focus on building safer road infrastructure for South Africa, as well as using new technology to ensure SA's roads are future proof.
Critical factors include the development of the Roads 2030 long-term plan, public transport enablement, an enhanced role in terms of community development, equitable access to economic opportunities and an integrated funding model.
Sanral CEO Skhumbuzo Macozoma said the more than 22 000km of roads the agency manages are a critical public asset. He estimates South Africa's roads have a net asset value of about R251.6bn.
He said the new strategy would build on Sanral's reputation for engineering excellence, while also taking into account the changing role of national roads.
“Our aim is to ensure the national road network creates economic value for the entire nation and supports the growth of an inclusive economy,” he said.“The national road network should be at the core of future strategic planning in South Africa. It links people to opportunities, connects communities across rural and urban divides and holds vast potential for job creation, empowerment and skills development."
Minister of Transport Joe Maswanganyi said Horizon 2030 will be critical for South Africa's National Development Plan to reduce inequality, support employment and eliminate poverty by the end of the next decade. He said the strategy is Sanral’s pro-active response to the changing dynamics across various sectors of the economy and society.
"In addition, it will ensure that communities across the country share the benefits of a well-managed road network that supports the growth of a transformed economy that contributes to job creation and empowerment,” said Maswanganyi.
Horizon 2030 will now be presented to various stakeholders including communities, industry bodies, strategic partners and labour throughout the country, and the transport minister will also take the strategy to Parliament.
Macozoma emphasised consultation on the content of the strategy should contribute to a more informed public debate on future funding policy for road infrastructure.
"Roads have to compete for funds from the fiscus with other socio-economic priorities and it is of critical importance to find a workable funding strategy."
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