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Alli withdraws resignation at Sanral

May 31 2012 11:54 Sapa

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Cape Town - Sanral CEO Nazir Alli, who resigned last month, is to "stay put", Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Thursday.

"There is no search for a new CEO," Motlanthe said in Cape Town.

Speaking in Cape Town at a media briefing on the controversial e-tolling system that the government is seeking to impose on Gauteng highways, he confirmed the resignation had been withdrawn.

Asked if this meant Alli had withdrawn his resignation, he said the SA National Roads Agency Ltd's board had received the resignation, but Alli had proffered it in the belief that he was not contributing towards solving Sanral's problems.

"We received a letter of resignation... [but] indeed the problem did not revolve around him... So there was an understanding he stays put."

The board had still to formally deal with the matter.

Earlier, Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele told journalists what Alli had been trying to do with his resignation was say: "If I'm the problem, I want to remove myself."

However, the government felt Alli was not the problem.

"So that [his resignation] is not on... So we need to continue, particularly in this [coming] period, because we need all the experience that we have... we want all hands on deck," Ndebele said.

The government is considering introducing an appropriations bill to give Sanral a cash injection to allow it to service its R20bn debt, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Thursday.

Failure to meet the SA National Roads Agency Ltd's debt repayments while the legal battle over e-tolling in Gauteng continued would have dire consequences for the roads agency and the country, he said.

"Government has to look at other ways of servicing that debt, which means taking away money from other allocation... hence the consideration of introducing this special bill to enable government to continue keeping Sanral in a healthy state of servicing the debt."

Motlanthe, who chairs an inter-ministerial committee handling the Sanral crisis, sidestepped a question on how much money would be allocated to the agency.

On April 28, the High Court in Pretoria handed down an order preventing the Sanral from levying or collecting e-tolls pending the outcome of a judicial review.

Moody's Investors Service subsequently cut Sanral's credit rating status to Baa2 with a negative outlook.

Last week, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan approached the Constitutional Court in a bid to set aside the court order halting e-tolling.

Gordhan regarded his request as so urgent that he asked Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng to convene the Constitutional Court during its annual July recess to hear the application.

Motlanthe argued, as Gordhan did in his application to the court, that High Court Judge Bill Prinsloo had ignored the principle of separation of powers.

"We take the view that the court judge Prinsloo over-stepped the line in terms of essentially imposing a moratorium on the collection of fees which has huge implications because Sanral has contractual obligations," he said.

"If there is delay in payment, the period is reduced and so it creates very serious financial challenges to government as a whole."

Cabinet appointed the special committee a month ago to co-ordinate the government's response to the court judgment and ensure Sanral's financial stability was not compromised.

In early May, the director general of finance, Lungisa Fuzile, said Sanral would be able to meet its financial obligations for some six more months, but only by making huge sacrifices.

 
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