Taxpayer bailout not needed- Sanral

JOBURG - Taxpayers would not bear the brunt of the costs of the multi-billion rand Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project if Sanral could not recoup its expenses from e-tolling, the roads agency said.

Earlier in January, Sanral spokesperson Vusi Mona was reported saying that the roads agency may have to approach taxpayers for a bailout if motorists do not pay their e-toll bills.

However, Mona has since clarified that taxpayers would not be liable for Sanral’s outstanding debt.

“A bailout is currently out of the question,” Mona said. “Initial trends indicate we are on track to meet our obligations.”

According to Mona, there had been an increase in the number of e-toll registrations and Sanral was therefore confident that it would reach its target.

He added that about one million motorists had obtained e-tags but did not indicate how the levels of compliance compared to levels of non-compliance.

The contentious e-tolling system, which commenced on 3 December 2013, would fund the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, through which Sanral upgraded roads around Johannesburg.

The cost of the project had varied in independent and joint Sanral, government and departmental documents.

In 2013, Sanral reportedly incurred a debt totalling R65 billion, including interest, and had borrowed R20 billion from local and foreign investors.

Sanral sourced the R20 billion funding through the sale of monthly bonds which were to be repaid over 24 years.

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