JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA. The South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) hit out at the leading opposition political party Democratic Alliance (DA) for politicising the issue of toll roads, saying the road infrastructure and user-pay debatehas reached the ‘bottom of the barrel’.
SANRAL spokesperson Vusi Mona said this week that he was shocked to hear the DA’s revelations at a portfolio committee meeting in Cape Town that SANRAL was considering new toll roads.
“It is a long process before a road is declared a toll road. That happens after ministerial approval and environmental impact assessment studies have been done,” Mona, the former editor-in-chief of City Press newspaper and Enterprise magazine, said in a statement.
“Furthermore, it would not happen without consulting with the affected communities and conducting socio-economic impact studies,” an incensed Mona said, adding that the roads mentioned by Nazir Alli at the portfolio committee were being considered as ‘potential’ tolls roads.
Alli is the CEO of SANRAL.
“If studies show that they are not viable and tolling is not the best way to finance them, then the potential is dead. We will never promote projects that are not viable.”
Mona reiterated that his organisation was not building new toll roads. The only two toll roads in the pipeline are the N1-N2 Winelands and the N2 Wildcoast, he said.
“For a party that introduced tolling at Chapman’s Peak in Cape Town last year to turn around and pretend it does not embrace the user-charge principle and tolling in particular says a lot about its credibility,” he said.
“While we understand that this is the stuff of political parties when the smell of an election is in the air, the DA may want to consider what its present stance on the issue of tolling and the user-pay principle does to its credibility.
“Let’s look at history and it will show that the DA is being disingenuous and scraping the bottom of the barrel,” Mona said.
(Issued by SANRAL, editing by Issa Sikiti da Silva). Photo by Sky Scraper City.