ANC using Sanral CEO as scapegoat, says anti-toll group

Matthew le Cordeur

Cape Town – The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa) said on Monday that it is too easy for the African National Congress (ANC) to “finger out” the SA National Roads Agency’s (Sanral) CEO Nazir Alli as its scapegoat over Gauteng’s e-tolls debacle.

“Government’s ministers and director generals are far too hasty in their acceptance of major capital expenditure projects, and do not go to the required lengths to double check the claims, data and research presented to them,” said Outa chairperson Wayne Duvenage in a statement.

“This is why we sit with the many costly capital expenditure debacles in Eskom, Prasa, SAA and other inefficient state-owned entities of today, with Sanral, a once respected organisation, now joining their ranks.”

Sanral has failed to get buy-in for its e-toll programme in Gauteng, while a Cape Town High Court ruled against it proceeding with its N1/N2 Winelands project in the Western Cape.

Monthly revenue collections decreased to R60m, while its bond repayment remains R260m every month, reported Sunday Independent.

Enoch Gondongwana, the head of ANC’s Economic Transformation committee, said on Sunday during the ANC National General Council that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Gauteng e-tolls compromise had not been implemented.

"This is creating a bit of agitation,” he said. "We are calling for the speedy implementation of the compromise and Gauteng people have said [e-tolls] have some form of economic impact on a number of people, particularly on certain sectors of society.”

A source within the ANC told the Sunday Independent on Sunday that Transport Minister Dipuo Peters is under pressure to fire Alli, who has led Sanral since it came into existence in 1998.

According to spource it is also believed that Alli’s departure will enable stakeholders within the ANC to reconsider the e-toll project.

Duvenage said that while Alli may have been the architect and driver of e-tolls, it was former Transport Minister Jeff Radebe who signed the scheme into existence.

“(He) did so without thorough independent questioning and verification of the research and numbers put forward by Sanral at the time,” he said.

Sanral’s e-toll revenue and projections graph displays their revised projection after the July 2014 compliance decline set in, following Peters' confirmation in Parliament that no summonses or prosecutions against e-toll defaulters would take place, explained Duvenage.

“With the failed scheme nearing two years of age, Sanral is about to announce a final push with the introduction of their 60% discounted dispensation, in attempt to hoodwink the public to come on board,” he said.

“We believe the new dispensation is a desperate folly that will not achieve the success levels required. At best they may get compliance back to June 2014 levels, but this will still be a significant failure and almost R2bn per annum shortfall of their required numbers to settle the bonds,” said Duvenage.