Sanral needs R15 billion per year extra to make up for e-tolls

The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) has told Parliament that lack of certainty around e-tolls could create a R150 billion funding gap over the next ten years, Sunday Times reports.

Sanral gave its warning in its annual performance plan last week.

It also warned that it would need R15.75 billion per year for the next ten years for its basic requirements, tackling its backlog, and its road network expansion if toll funding is no longer available.

Sanral said the proposed transfer of 15,000km of provincial roads to its care needed to be reviewed if its budget was not proportionately increased.

“The agency does not have the financial and human capital capacity to take over the management of such a large network of roads,” the performance plan stated.

“This new approach is of critical importance because previous road transfers were often done without the necessary budget transfers from the relevant road authorities.”

Finance minister Enoch Godongwana and Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi confirmed in October 2022 that e-tolls would be scrapped.

Godongwana announced in his 2022 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement that the national government would cover 70% of Sanral’s debt related to the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).

However, Gauteng had to come up with the remaining 30%. The total debt is R47 billion.

The e-tolls were the mechanism meant to fund the GFIP, but fierce civil disobedience from motorists pushed Sanral’s debt from the scheme into tens of billions of rand.

Gauteng finance MEC Jacob Mamabolo said that a memorandum of understanding between Sanral and the provincial government was still being drawn up.

Unless there is an unusual intervention, it is unlikely e-tolls will be scrapped until the next financial year, starting in April 2024.

Until the e-toll system is deactivated, motorists who want to use their e-tag as a convenient way to travel through long-distance gantries still have to pay their Gauteng e-toll fees.

While removing the tag while driving around in Gauteng is possible, the system can still link their number plate to their accounts.

Average speed over distance fines

About two months before Godongwana and Lesufi confirmed e-tolls would be scrapped, Sanral published a tender for a contractor to take over the system.

Among the possible services that bidders could implement was an average speed-over-distance system.

Sanral has been collecting average speed data since 3 April 2020 and recorded nearly 12.6 million infringements by the time the tender was published.

That worked out to roughly 14,858 infringements per day if measured up until the end of July 2022.

With a minimum speeding fine of R1,000 in Gauteng, not accounting for early payment discounts, the system could help curb speeding incidents and generate revenue of R14.9 million per day or R5.7 billion per year.

That could have paid for the original R20 billion cost of the e-toll system within four years.


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Sanral needs R15 billion per year extra to make up for e-tolls