Sanral denies road troubles – and is ready to take on more work

 ·10 May 2023

Road agency Sanral has contradicted statements in its annual performance plan for 2023/24, saying that it is not facing a ‘fiscal cliff’ and that it is well-equipped and financed to take over more provincial roads.

The agency was responding to a report from BusinessTech this week, widely citing the group’s latest performance plan, in which the agency flagged concerns over funding.

In the performance plan, under its updated situational analysis, the group noted that:

  • It needs to take “rational and prudent decisions” regarding its road network growth;
  • Sanral has reached a ‘fiscal cliff’ in balancing network growth against insufficient funds;
  • The agency does not have the financial and human capacity to take over the management of a large network of roads;
  • No network increase is assumed;
  • It would require a minimum of R15.8 billion a year for the next ten years to address the basic requirements, the maintenance backlog, and expand the network.

Despite this being a prominent and clearly marked segment in its own performance plan for 2023/24, Sanral has distanced itself from the contents.

In a statement, Sanral said that, despite the article quoting its own documents, the BusinessTech report was naughty, misleading, mischievous, devious, disingenuous, devoid of truth, malicious and was discredited by using ‘anonymous sources’.

More directly, the group told the SABC that its updated situational analysis was out of date and, ironically, no longer reflected the current situation.

Sanral’s head of Engineering, Louw Kannemeyer, told the broadcaster that the segment in question refers to scenarios presented in 2016, and that the funding concerns mentioned are no longer present.

“This was based on funding scenarios available. Luckily for us, these funding scenarios did not materialise. We have seen a substantial improvement in allocations from National Treasury to Sanral over that time, so we are most definitely not at a fiscal cliff.”

Kannemeyer said that the notion of a fiscal cliff does not exist for Sanral, and that budget-wise, it has sufficient financing to roll out all the projects it currently has planned.

Regarding the position on taking over more roads from local and provincial authorities, the Sanral engineer said that the group has room to add approximately 11,000km to its portfolio, in line with the government’s aims of pushing the total under Sanral’s purview to 35,000km.

He said that Sanral has awarded over 300 contracts to the value of R51 billion, which shows it is nowhere near a “fiscal cliff”.

The annual performance plan was tabled in March 2023, and makes no mention of these events in the updated situational analysis. The document was developed by the management of Sanral, overseen by the board, and signed off by several executives.

The full performance plan can be viewed below:

Read: ‘End of the road’ for South Africa

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