Pretoria - SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) CEO Nazir Alli
lambasted the outcry over news that a mainly foreign-owned consortium has a R4bn contract to collect tolls on the new Gauteng freeway improvement project.
Speaking at a National Press Club conference in Pretoria, Alli said the country was seeking foreign direct investment, but at the same time there would be an outcry if a foreign company was given work.
"We need to make up our minds. Are we going to say we don't want foreign investment?" he asked.
ETC Joint Venture won the R6.22bn tender to operate the controversial toll system.
It comprises 65% of the Swedish and Austrian branches of the traffic technology company Kapsch, while the South African company TMT holds a 35% stake.
There were four tenders for the project, with ETC Joint Venture the cheapest. The most expensive tender at R15.29bn came from a Norwegian/Italian/South African joint venture.
Earlier this month Alli announced that motorists can expect to pay 66 cents a kilometre before discounts when travelling on the 185km tolled Gauteng freeways.
The announcement has caused an uproar, with consumer groups and unions saying that the poor would be the worst affected.
Alli said that tolls collected would be used to pay off the estimated R20bn in loans obtained to build the system and to maintain the roads.
He said he believed that the tolls would have a minimum impact on inflation.