More delays on N3 fix
Sanral seeks R128 bln for projects
SOUTH African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) CEO Skhumbuzo Macozoma had bad news and more bad news for road users on especially the busy routes through KZN.
Macozoma was delivering the keynote address at the Southern African Transport Conference, held in Pretoria on Monday. He titled his speech ‘The Road Construction Sector’s Contribution to the Transport Future That We Desire’.
He said Sanral has projects on the books that will cost R128 billion, but the roads agency cannot start on any of these projects because tolls and fuel levies are not accessible.
“People are anti-fuel levy now. So now, you can’t use the fuel levy. And then public funds are not sufficient.”
He did not explain why the fuel levy, which started out as a fund to develop South Africa’s road infrastructure, cannot be used, or why Sanral cannot be funded from the R118 billion government will get from taxing fuel sales in 2018.
“The situation with tolls in this country now is that, number one, people are anti-toll, and now we can’t toll anything,” he said.
Macozoma said funding and planning constraints are delaying improvements to two sections of the N3 — Van Reenen’s pass, which is controlled by the N3TC and tolled; the Sanral-controlled N3 section from Cedara to Durban; as well as a rapid rail link from Gauteng to Durban.
Macozoma, who holds a BSc and MSc (Civil Engineering), has launched a turnaround plan at Sanral, dubbed Horizon 2030.
In this, he hopes to get more loans to finance Sanral plans. He told Leadership magazine in an interview last year: “Roads have to compete for funds from the fiscus with other socio-economic priorities and it is of critical importance to find a workable funding strategy.
“Public funds will no doubt continue to form a significant share of our funding model. National Treasury is the custodian of public funds and should determine how these are sought.
“We will focus on the planning and where we submit requests, we expect we will be given the money to carry out the work.
“When we first introduced private financing, we increased our funding envelope and were able to move quicker in delivering on projects. We still see the need for private financing, with the bulk coming from the fiscus, but we need a consensus as South Africans on a funding policy and on when to use private financing and how.
“The one good thing that had emerged from the e-toll saga is it has brought into sharp focus the need to debate and agree on how road infrastructure will be funded,” he says.
Leadership reported Macozoma also believes there is an opportunity for Sanral to generate its own revenue and add it to what will be an integrated funding model including public tax-based funding, private capital and own revenue.
A business development strategy to explore potential areas of own revenue generation, again bottomup, is currently being crafted but Macozoma confirmed his position that public funds will be the biggest slice of the pie for the roads agency.
Sanral CEO Skhumbuzo Macozoma has plans to fix SA’s roads, but needs funds.