Sanral has almost reached the end of the road with e-tolls, admitting it has all but lost the revenue battle.
Speaking to the Citizen, the agency said that less than a third of motorists were currently paying their tolls and that it was now up to government to come up with an acceptable road-funding mechanism.
This could include a fuel levy – something Sanral has always vigorously opposed.
“Whatever government indicates to Sanral on which funding model should be used, it will be implemented,” said Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) manager, Alex van Niekerk.
Van Niekerk admitted that direct funding from government would be the best option, but said that the National Treasury had already shut down the idea due to a lack of funds.
He said that, while the agencies would always be able to maintain its current projects, it needed huge capital up-front to begin new projects.
“National Treasury was also very clear in the lead-up to this project that they don’t have the funds.
“The other option is to do nothing. We will keep on maintaining what is there and the congestion will build up. We are not an agency. We are an SOE level 3 so we are not making any profit.
“For us, it’s not about the tolling. It’s about being able to generate the revenue to enable us to build mega projects which will enable economic growth,” he said.
This was echoed by Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona, who said the organisation was tired of being berated.
He said that Sanral was an engineering outfit and it was not the agency’s responsibility to raise money for road infrastructure.
“The government, Treasury and citizens must agree that if we want this infrastructure, how will we pay for it? That shouldn’t be a discussion for engineers,” he said.
“We are not on a tolling crusade. If our citizens can give us a pot of money to build without tolling, we will welcome that. ”
Mona said that he would love to see the implementation of a fuel levy, but indicated it would be incredibly difficult to make other provinces pay for Gauteng’s roads.