Picture: SOWETAN
Picture: SOWETAN

THE Treasury and the Gauteng government will cover a R390m annual revenue shortfall for the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) for the next 22 years, the agency says.

The shortfall is the result of additional discounts and changes under the new e-tolls dispensation announced by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in May last year.

Transport economist Andrew Marsay said that although the injection from the government would help Sanral to raise funding, it meant there would be other things the government would not be able to do, such as fund public transport.

"This is unfortunate … because national transport policy says infrastructure is meant to be funded in a way that prioritises public transport," said Mr Marsay. "Gauteng freeway infrastructure is going to be funded in a way that allows people to get away with not paying and, as a result, incentivises the use of private cars and weakens all efforts to improve public transport."

Sanral will also seek to raise R400m a month from its bond auctions, which will start next month and end in November.

Sanral chief financial officer Inge Mulder said the R390m would be adjusted for inflation and traffic growth every year, with the exact amount to be reflected in the Appropriation Bill, published with the finance minister’s budget speech.

"As long as we can reflect positive trends and provide information to our investors, our auctions should be successful. Any uncertainty results in less than positive results."

RMB credit analyst Elena Ilkova said investors needed confirmation that Sanral would receive the shortfall cover. "Interest in Sanral bonds might increase once information is released on the extent to which Gauteng motorists had attempted to settle their outstanding debt," Ms Ilkova said.

Changes to the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act that included reclassifying e-toll dodging as a traffic offence, were published in the Government Gazette on December 7.