Govt: Sanral default not an option

2012-05-17 11:41

Cape Town - A default by the SA National Roads Agency Ltd (Sanral) on its R20bn debt incurred in improving Gauteng's highway network "is not an option", government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi said on Thursday.

"Government will pull (out) everything it can to ensure Sanral meets its obligations," Manyi said in Cape Town during the cabinet's fortnightly briefing.

"Government will ensure the financial stability of Sanral is preserved. The issue of Sanral defaulting is not an option."

Sanral was downgraded two notches by ratings agency Moody's Investors Service last week after doubts about whether it could meet its commitment to pay its debt.

The downgrade means that Sanral could see a spike in its cost of borrowing.

Moody's said in a statement that the rating action followed the North Gauteng High Court's decision on April 28 to block the implementation of electronic tolling on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), pending a final court resolution on the matter.

The government said on April 26 that it would postpone the project, which had been opposed by trade unions and opposition political parties.

The government had agreed on a significant reduction in e-toll rates, following which Treasury extended a R5.8bn budget allocation to Sanral to help it meet it's commitments.

It is estimated that Sanral has lost about R2.7bn due to the postponement.

Moody's said Sanral's e-toll revenues were essential to it servicing its R20bn debt, which is 50% guaranteed by the government.

Manyi said that government was not "bailing out" Sanral.

"The word 'bailout' has all sorts of connotations," he said.

"There is no question about whether Sanral will default on its payment. Government will not allow that to happen."

The cabinet has formed a high level committee to look into the e-tolling committee. The committee is headed by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, who is due to brief the media on the issue next Thursday.

Sanral chief executive Nazir Alli resigned from the company last week.

His resignation was welcomed by The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance and the Congress of SA Trade Unions.

Despite the opposition, Manyi said the government remains committed to e-tolling and would appeal the high court in Pretoria's interim order halting the implementation of the system.

"Cabinet has taken a decision to appeal the interim order to stop the e-tolling," Manyi said.

He said the government only received a written copy of Judge Bill Prinsloo's April 28 judgment late on Wednesday.

"As we are sitting here, our lawyers are studying the judgment and will advise the executive in due course."

He added: "Cabinet reiterated its commitment to the user pays principle and its decision on e-tolling as an efficient mechanism of collection."

Manyi said cabinet also made plain it would not allow the embattled Sanral to default on the debt it incurred to complete the GFIP.

"As a country we need to demonstrate unequivocal commitment to meet all our contractual obligations, including repaying the debt incurred in the construction of GFIP.

"Defaulting on our debt is simply not an option."


  • Mphotent - 2012-05-17 11:51

    Last week Cde Minister Davies affirmed citizen's and investors that govt will cope with debt incurred thus far on e-toll. Now Cde Spokesperson Manyi is giving us another version, new or edited??? Govt reps are confusing at high degree.

      Werner - 2012-05-17 12:02

      They already received a 5 billion down payment funded by us.

      sabongam - 2012-05-17 12:12

      Its pretty stresful working for this company...I'm pretty sure the e-toll workers are feeling very insecure concerning their jobs...Wouldn't want to be an employee there since job security is hanging by a thread, one is not so sure whether he/she will be part of the employed masses six-months down the line.

      NrGx - 2012-05-17 12:13

      e-tolling for the majority - NOT AN OPTION!

      Werner - 2012-05-17 12:21

      They must hand over the Gantries to business against crime. They can use the kit to track criminals. All those new Sanral customer services buildings must be turned into police stations

      Alan - 2012-05-17 12:48

      (Alan2) Jimmy - what is NOT an option is us taxpayers, who were never consulted, paying for a R20 billion blunder on Scamral's part, where there a massive llikelihood of corruption and overspending. Buzz off Manyi, you're not impressing anyone with your attempted tough-guy tactics. Epic fail.

      SaintBruce - 2012-05-17 16:41

      I have to wonder whether the 'powers that be' actually did a SWOT analysis on this project and what they came up with? I bet, it's nowhere near what they face now!

  • Werner - 2012-05-17 11:52

    He added: "Cabinet reiterated its commitment to the user pays principle and its decision on e-tolling as an efficient mechanism of collection." Import Duties, Cabon tax, License disks, drivers licenses, VAT and oh yes, a very large percentage of fuel tax

      isabel.w.stokes - 2012-05-17 12:19

      We've been paying all along anyway!

      Alan - 2012-05-17 12:29

      very efficient - at double the cost of the impovements????? WTF??? Maybe he means eficient at fleecing the public .... no quicker way!!!!

      Archie - 2012-05-17 14:34

      So the "user pays" principle is sacrosanct! This is, unless you're a taxi.

  • JaredVN - 2012-05-17 11:53

    According to Business Day, government has decided to appeal the judgement. So what they are saying is: Regardless of whether you can afford it, and regardless of huge public opposition, we will force this ill-conceived scam down your throats. Because we can. To which my response is: Bring it on! This means WAR with your taxpaying milch cows.

      isabel.w.stokes - 2012-05-17 12:20

      You're right Jared. Ultimately it will fail because Joe Soap just won't be able to afford it!

  • thepatrickwinter - 2012-05-17 11:54

    Blah, Blah, Blah, enough already. We will not fall victim to your e-tag ponzi scheme, period.

  • koos.vandermerwe.92 - 2012-05-17 12:00

    Government are just delaying the slap they are going to get.

  • IcemanGP - 2012-05-17 12:01

    "Cabinet reiterated its commitment to the user pays principle and its decision on e-tolling as an efficient mechanism of collection." .... So does this mean that TAXI's PAY as well, cause if they USE, they MUST pay!!

  • Brad.Kopping - 2012-05-17 12:03

    Jimmy...jimmy....jimmy.... xD

      Alan - 2012-05-17 12:31

      Er Jimmy the C.... Take 1 sleeping pill every 12hrs for the next 5 years, and then come see us again.

  • DanitoGP - 2012-05-17 12:04

    Jimmy you crazy bedbug. I will NOT, NEVER PAY. You must a huge prison to accomodate all Gauteng motorists!

      Alan - 2012-05-17 12:31

      hmm - I wonder if the corrupt extortionists should not keep Juju company in Prison istead??

  • ferreira.charmaine - 2012-05-17 12:09

    "As a country we need to demonstrate unequivocal commitment to meet all our contractual obligations, including repaying the debt incurred in the construction of GFIP." HOPEFULLY NOT AT OUR EXPENSE - MAYBE YOUR 13TH CHEQUE AND ALL THE OTHER FAT CATS CAN CONTRIBUTE!

  • Shaheen - 2012-05-17 12:09

    When is Jimmy Manyi going to resign?

      Ridwan - 2012-05-17 16:10

      as soonn as he receives his fat piece of the pie!

  • isabel.w.stokes - 2012-05-17 12:11

    Even if they do by some miracle force this through, we can still scupper it by JUST NOT USING IT!!! And I hope the next hearing is delayed till just before the next election.

      Werner - 2012-05-17 12:22

      Let me help you, Use it and do not pay!

  • Nigel - 2012-05-17 12:14

    You lot committed to this R20bn not me. Deal with it!!!! If you didn't have the money why the hell did you commit to the project.

      Alan - 2012-05-17 12:42

      er - it was for the World Cup (AKA the second biggest failure SA has ever seen). Now we have White elephant stadiums that we will be paying for for the next 30 years and Unused Gantries to pay for as well. Man, this Govt. make some decisions that are clueless in my opinion. Stand together people - enough is enough. Donate to OUTA to help fight this thing while you still can.

  • The-third - 2012-05-17 12:16

    find the 50 billion you "lost" and pay it that way.

  • herman.booysen2 - 2012-05-17 12:17

    Ok lets do e-tol and strip all fule levey's , who wil then moan ?

  • Rob - 2012-05-17 12:20

    Certainly in the case of the Gauteng toll roads it was less about what was being done and more about how the government went about setting the tolls and communicating to the electorate. ....and yet they continue in their arrogance as if they are somehow endowed with authority to behave as dictators. Just a thought for these elected representatives, would you perhaps benefit from a dose of humility and repect for the people who pay for your temporary priveledges.

  • Nosiphom - 2012-05-17 12:23

    "Cabinet reiterated its commitment to the user pays principle and its decision on e-tolling as an efficient mechanism of collection." And then one so called Balde Nzimande stands on a podium and criticises the very decision he co-sponsored!

  • Sidney Gilroy - 2012-05-17 12:25

    Fine. If you want us to pay E-tol...scrap the levy on fuel intended for roads. You cant make us pay twice for the same thing, government.

      Alan - 2012-05-17 12:34

      dont pay. Period!

  • John - 2012-05-17 12:27

    another fool that needs to go !!!

  • Jake - 2012-05-17 12:28

    South African tax payers cannot afford the massive corruption and theft of taxpayer's money as well as infrastructure upgrades. It is the government's choice, either stop corruption in its tracks and use the money for what it was intended for or face public resistence. Scrap fuel all levies in Gauteng and e-tolling might become an option, but NO!!! to unfair taxes. Should we not start to hold SARS responsible for the way in which our tax money is used/abused?

      Alan - 2012-05-17 12:35

      Good idea - but how? You cannot even get them to fix their own mistakes in 7 years of trying.

  • Tawizee - 2012-05-17 12:32

    Blah, blah, blah...I'm not paying!

  • danny.levin.351 - 2012-05-17 12:38

    Seeing that Govt employees stand to benefit in their personal capacity (their pension money was invested, so they will receive profits) I think by law they (as share holders) are obligued to pay the debt. Furthermore, the fact that Govt employees stand to benefit in their personal capacity makesit illegal for them to impose taxes of which they will benefit. it seems that SANRAL and the GUVEMENT have painted themselves into a corner...

      Alan - 2012-05-17 12:44

      what's new?

  • Mpotsiseng - 2012-05-17 12:40

    How is Sanral's problem our problem in the first place... MANYI??

  • kenneth.roselt - 2012-05-17 12:40

    i have found a back road to get to work, 20km shorter, less traffic than the highways, less stress then the highways, if there's an accident, i can divert at the next stop street, i am using less fuel, with a tank now lasting 2 weeks.

  • jaysonpaul.beckwith - 2012-05-17 12:41

    Jimmy the killer prawn. He is nothing but a blundering baffoon. Pressing the issues, that they expect us to fix there problem!!! Hell no. We won't pay jimmy, sorry. Use your year end bonus to cover the debt.

      Alan - 2012-05-17 12:45

      eeeeuuuw - you have just put me off Prawns!

      Alan - 2012-05-17 12:46

      I rather use the term - Jimmy the C..... (Cricket of course)

      jaysonpaul.beckwith - 2012-05-17 13:08

      Lol Alan.

      Ridwan - 2012-05-17 16:16

      dont insult the prawns! Att least the prawns are edible and they contribute to the eco-system!

  • Ringo - 2012-05-17 12:50

    He's more like JIMMY THE PARK-TOWN PRAWN!!!

      Alan - 2012-05-17 13:03

      Eish - with Ace Parking Management and the City of Jhb, the whole of Jhb will soon be called ParkTown. Struth - there is no end to the evils and wrongs inthe country. If a Kingdom is ruled by a King, and South Africa is a Country ......

  • sean.murphy.165 - 2012-05-17 12:53

    I will believe that the ANC is committed to the "user pays" principle when they start applying it to RDP housing and all the other free stuff they give there voters.

  • phillip.sprules - 2012-05-17 12:54

    Okay Manyi, the "user pays principle" is fair enough.... So how about giving me a credit/refund for: - my tax that is spent on education since I am forced to send my children to private schools to have any hope of receiving a decent education, - my tax that is spent on hospitals etc since I am forced to use private hospitals and doctors to have any hope of receiving decent care, - a portion of my tax that is used for the police since I am forced to hire a private armed response company to keep my family and myself safe (quite often from the police I am effectively paying) The list could go on....... Then, ignoring the fact that nearly a 1/3 of the cost of petrol I buy is taxes that are meant to be used to maintain and develop roads, I will pay tolls for the highways I use in Gauteng

      Alan - 2012-05-17 12:59

      even then, I wont pay Tolls. Roads are National Assets, and Govt. must take responsibility for mismanagement and corrupt scheme planning.

  • Jeremy - 2012-05-17 13:03

    Sell all the bloody soccer stadiums and use that money instead...

  • Bobby - 2012-05-17 13:05

    My confidence in government is so eroded that I have no option but to smell a rat here.

  • Gert - 2012-05-17 14:01

    Mannyi it is very simple--do what the court ordered--provide alternative affordable public transport (not private taxis) and proper alternative routes,... then you may operate, and that is not to say the public can afford it and that they will use it. How about you play a dirty game and Nationalise the taxis and force them to part with private ownership since you want to control all in SA, and then you can say there is alternative public transport. I bet you the taxi drivers will hang you very quickly from the nearest toll gantry.

  • EyesEars - 2012-05-17 14:50

    "As a country we need to demonstrate unequivocal commitment to meet all our contractual obligations, including repaying the debt incurred in the construction of GFIP. "Defaulting on our debt is simply not an option." With a discount SUBJECT to sanral's discretion according to sanral's term and conditions! Hell No! Everyone will end up paying the full amount because the "discounts" will be replaced by the so-called admin fees. Time to stop thinking like an investor, when you are sitting on the giving side of the table and start thinking about your own survival with this corrupt bunch that steals pension moneys from it's own employees. Shows you how much respect they have for their own.

  • Ridwan - 2012-05-17 16:07

    Did Jimmy not say that tolling is a reality? Catch a wake-up jimmy, defaulting is a reality for you and your corrupt cronies! The only way for this group of political thugs getting their way is if JZ instructs the next judge to rule otherwise. If this happens then our justice system has been compromised and we no longer live in a democratic country!

      Freddy - 2012-05-17 16:33

      I wonder what Jimmy "smoked" today.

  • chad.blignaut - 2012-05-17 18:36

    Here is a quick Calculation for you. If we are to say legally pay R50 for an E-Tag If we are to Legally pay a capped Limit of R550 Then lets for argument sake state the following it would not be unreasonable to expect then that a capped total for the first month would be R600 in real terms of E-tolling Collection So then lets for argument sake say we only have to pay half of the R550 this would then come down to a total of R275 just for your first month in a conservative calculation. Now lets take half of that R137.50 Which is really really conservative in terms of What you would be Legally obligated to pay. Now take the number of people that have reportedly already registered which is in the region of 500000 people. Lets imagine for a second that 500000 people Donated instead of these monies to E-tolling they donated that to OUTA for Legal fees. This would put R68750000 at the disposal of OUTA for fighting and preventing this thing from ever even taking off. R137 is not a huge expectation in terms of a once off fee for the freedom to be heard.

  • Given Selepe - 2012-05-17 22:11

    Don't like this guy. Such errogance!

  • des316 - 2012-05-18 07:13

    If the goverment can bail out Swaziland, they can bail out SANRAL.

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