Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

SA National Road Agency (Sanral) will use R9.6bn of its own funds to supplement the the funds allocated for road projects under  a stimulus package announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The cabinet has adopted the stimulus and recovery plan aimed at igniting economic activity, restoring investor confidence and creating jobs.

About R3.5bn has been allocated for such projects by the Treasury, and the Sanral injection will unlock a total of R13.1bn for stimulus package projects, Sanral CEO Skhumbuzo Macozoma said at a media briefing on Tuesday. 

In addition R3.3bn was allocated in the 2019/2020 budget for upgrading of the dangerous Moloto Road that links Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Gauteng. The road is notorious for accidents with the most recent happening last week. Six people were killed in a head on collision between a bus and a security van. 

Successive governments have pledged to update the road but very little has been done. Macozoma said the Sanral board had rescinded a resolution taken last year not to approach the bond markets for funding. However, while Sanral could now do so, it is engaging with private investors to secure funds instead. He said Sanral wanted certainty over e-tolls as this affects the volatility of the bond market.

Sanral’s total allocation from the government for 2019/2020 amounts to R21bn (compared with R15bn in 2017/2018) and to R67bn over the next three years.

“The department is expected to decisively and rapidly accelerate the implementation of key economic reforms that will unlock greater investment in our sector,” transport minister Blade Nzimande told the same briefing.

Nearly R3bn will be spent on the road network in the Eastern Cape, he said, adding that Sanral is in discussions with the New Development Bank regarding the funding of the construction of new  lanes on the N1 between Kranskop and Polokwane.

Nzimande noted that in the past financial year Sanral completed road infrastructure and maintenance projects to the value of R521m in the Eastern Cape. “Communities across the province now have access to safer and more convenient infrastructure, access roads and pedestrian walkways because of the construction activities initiated by Sanral,” Nzimande said.

In the coming year, upgrading the N2 Wild Coast Road from East London to Port Edward will commence, unlocking opportunities in the fields of eco-tourism, agri-processing and commerce.

“Within the wider regional context, the N2 Wild Coast Road will save three hours of travel time between Durban and East London; improve logistical linkage; and facilitate the easier and safer movement of people, goods and services,” Nzimande said.

In KwaZulu-Natal, planning for the upgrade of the N3 between Durban and Pietermaritzburg is at an advanced stage with construction expected to commence mid-2020. “The first phase will include upgrades to the road between Cato Ridge and Pietermaritzburg; key ridge alignments; and improvements to the EB Cloete Interchange to a value of R13bn,” the minister said.

In Mpumalanga the Tweefontein and Kwaggafontein access roads will be constructed at a cost of R200m.

Nzimande said there are at least seven shovel-ready projects.

ensorl@businesslive.co.za