Sanral pleads poverty, unable to maintain SA’s roads

The SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) has hit a snag on road maintenance and expansion of the country’s road infrastructure.

The national road agency, tasked with the building of new roads and maintenance, has pleaded poverty towards making inroads to expand its horizon in designing and constructing new roads, claiming that it has no capacity to do so due to financial constraints.

In its annual performance plan for the 2023/24 financial year, Sanral revealed that it has reached the end of the road, as financial constraints are hampering its vision to build more roads while maintaining existing ones.

It stated that South Africa’s road network covers 750 000km, of which 618 081km are proclaimed.

“The responsibility for administration, planning, funding, construction, maintenance and operations of the road network is a concurrent function between national, provincial and municipal road authorities,” said Sanral.

“Sanral as an entity of the Department of Transport, is responsible for managing the national road network, and along with the department, plays a key role in influencing policy and setting standards.”

The agency is currently managing about 23 536km of the 618 081km proclaimed network, which represents only 3.6% of the road network, and this carries 34.5% of the annual vehicle kilometres driven in South Africa.

“Currently, more than 70% of the long-distance road freight in South Africa is transported on the Sanral road network. The draft National Roads Plan 2030 has been developed for consultation and shall be reviewed and finalised during the year.”

Sanral said if its budget is not increased, the plan needs to be reviewed, and the original 15 000km of roads to be transferred will have to be reduced to only 3 000km.

“The agency does not have the financial and human capacity to take over the management of such a large network of roads.

“This new approach is of critical importance because previous road transfers were often done without the necessary budget transfers.

“Another challenge that gives Sanral a tremendous headache is that some parts of the roads in provinces will be transferred to the agency to manage and maintain,” it said.

The agency stated that additional budget allocated by the Treasury has failed to meet the costs of the transferred roads in order to sustain its budget and projects, saying it will need at least more than R15-billion a year that will be allocated for 10 years to deal with the road issues and expansion of road network.


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