This is according to Inge Mulder, chief financial officer of the South African National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral), who said that the agency’s non-toll portfolio remains healthy.
“The non-toll portfolio consists of funds from the national fiscus, an amount of approximately 10 billion rand per annum. These funds are used by Sanral to manage its non-toll network which accounts for 85 per cent of the total national road network of 21 403 kilometres. There are no funding challenges with the non-toll portfolio. It’s business as usual,” said Mulder.
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She emphasised that there is no cross-border subsidisation of funds between the toll and non-toll portfolios.
Mulder also added that Sanral was not surprised by Moody’s downgrade of its rating from stable to negative.
“The ratings agency had warned at the time of the previous two ratings (July and November 2014) that any failure by SANRAL to generate e-toll revenue leading to deteriorating cash flows and growing borrowing needs would lead to a downgrade,” said Mulder.
“We were ahead of forecasted income at the time when the E-toll Advisory Panel was announced by the Gauteng Province. Since then income has dipped appreciably and Moody’s itself makes a correlation between the increase in the non-payment of e-tolls and the decision by the Gauteng Province to establish a panel to assess the socio-economic impact of e-tolls – something that could have sparked speculation among the general public that the e-toll project may be abandoned.”
Mulder said that the agency is waiting on the outcome of the e-tolling process led by South Africa’s deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa to provide policy clarity as well as the funding model for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP).
“With policy certainty, we can devise a plan to repay our debt which should improve our rating.”