Poor roads Sanral
The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) is set to take over a total of 1 628km of t he Limpopo province’s provincial roads. In future, Sanral will manage the upgrading and maintenance of these particular roads. South Africa’s total roads network amounts to around 700 000km, with Sanral currently managing around 19 704km of this total amount. This, however, is projected to grow to almost 35 000km as more and more provinces transfer some of their roads to the agency.
This means that Sanral’s workload is set to nearly double. At the same time however, Sanral is not receiving the increases in funding necessary to finance the additional work. The budget allocation that Sanral receives from treasury has not been allocated proportionally with the added kilometres. The length of the non-toll road network that Sanral manages for example, went up by 27% in 2012/13 but the budget allocation only grew by almost 9%.
The DA believes that handing over more than 1 600km of Limpopo provincial roads to Sanral could result in more tolling in other provinces. Ian Ollis, DA MP, says that giving Sanral a larger portion of SA’s road network to manage is problematic because not only is the entity cash-strapped, but the National Treasury has maintained that it would not allocate any further funding to it. “Since it [Sanral] will have no access to provincial road grants, in order to repair and maintain the additional road network assigned to it, Sanral would have to raise its own funding. This raises genuine concerns that an already cash-strapped Sanral is going to be forced to pass the burden on to South Africans. We cannot let this happen,” says Ollis.
Vusi Mona, communications head at Sanral, says that the state-owned entity can do the job but admits there are ‘funding constraints’.
“Our network is increasing disproportionately to the funding. This is where the participation of the private sector in infrastructure development becomes appreciable,” he says.
Mona says that the Limpopo move follows a request by the province to have the roads incorporated into Sanral. “The national agency was asked to step in because of the lack of capacity at provincial level and the road maintenance capacity it has.”
According to Sanral the intervention in Limpopo is particularly vital because of the province’s booming mining industry and its strategic agricultural sector which both need, over and above
Damaged roads caused by flooding on 19 January 2012, in Hoedspruit, Limpopo