Poor roads San­ral

Finweek English Edition - - INSIGHT -

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

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