Fate of e-tolls passed to Gauteng, as govt gives billions to settle Sanral debt

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  • The fate of the e-tolls and the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project will be handed to the Gauteng province under a new Treasury plan.
  • Gauteng will take on 30% of Sanral's R47 billion debt, while the government will pay the remaining 70%.
  • In the current year, Sanral is getting R23.7 billion to settle some of its debt.
  • For more financial news, go to the News24 Business front page.

The fate of the e-tolls and the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) will be handed to the Gauteng province under a new Treasury plan.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said the national government would take on 70% of Sanral's debt while the Gauteng government takes on 30%.

Sanral has been struggling to raise money as non-payment of e-tolls left a massive debt hole in its books.

Under the new agreement, Gauteng will cover the costs of maintaining the 201km and associated interchanges of roads, and any additional investment in the road will be funded through either the existing electronic toll infrastructure or new toll plazas, or any other revenue source within the area of responsibility.

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In the current year, Sanral is getting R23.7 billion to settle some of its debt.

During his speech, Godongwana said the uncertainty surrounding the GFIP continued to have negative implications for road construction around the country.

"To resolve the funding impasse, the Gauteng provincial government has agreed to contribute 30% to settling Sanral's debt and interest obligations while the national government covers 70%," said Godongwana.

National Treasury official Mampho Modise said the allocation was about giving Sanral financial stability and certainty until future phases of the GFIP are handed over from Sanral to the Gauteng government, where the provincial government will decide how to fund the GFIP.

The annexure said of the R145.8 billion that public entities will spend on infrastructure in the medium-term expenditure framework, Sanral would spend R61.8 billion to build new road infrastructure and rehabilitate key transport routes serving the economy.

The Medium-term Budget Policy Statement annexures were silent on the SA Post Office, which has struggled with paying over the employee contributions to the medical aid provider, the SABC, and SAA.

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The budget annexure document said arms manufacturer Denel would receive R204.7 million to reduce its contingent liabilities from its weak financial position and to assist if it cannot complete its turnaround plan.

"Government allocated R3 billion in 2021/22 to cover capital and interest payments on guaranteed debt. In September 2022, as part of clarifying Denel's future role in the economy, Denel and Armscor signed a memorandum of understanding covering defence equipment and operational requirements," the annexure said.

Godongwana said the R3.4 billion Denel was allocated in 2021 would be augmented by R1.8 billion in the sale of non-core assets and will unlock a committed order book of R12 billion awaiting execution.

The annexure said Denel was implementing its turnaround plan and disposing of non-core assets, which provided to finance legacy obligations and immediate working capital requirements.

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