FILE PICTURE: The Loerie e-toll gantry that crosses the N12 toll road and the R24 that is classified a non-toll road and its upkeep is not the responsibility of SANRAL although users will pay a toll fee. Picture: Neil McCartney

FILE PICTURE: The Loerie e-toll gantry that crosses the N12 toll road and the R24 that is classified a non-toll road and its upkeep is not the responsibility of SANRAL although users will pay a toll fee. Picture: Neil McCartney

South Africa’s national roads network is a national asset, Sanral CEO Nazir Alli said on Thursday.

“To just put it into context of what is happening, we have 750,000km of roads network,” Alli said in Pretoria.

“What a lot of people don’t always understand is that it’s the 10th largest in the world, which is controlled by the three spheres of government.

“You need to take into account what the value of that particular asset is to South Africa Incorporated.”

He was addressing the e-tolls review panel appointed by Gauteng premier David Makhura in July to examine the economic and social impact of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) and the e-tolling system to fund it.

An example of how Sanral went about maintaining that asset was through the three current concession routes it operated.

These were the N4 east Maputo Development Corridor (471km of road), N3 Cedara Heidelburg (429km), and N4 west Platinum highway (382km).

“Now the last three years, R9 billion has been invested in the upkeep, of preserving that particular asset of our South Africa Incorporated,” he said.

“That concession still belongs to South Africa Incorporated. It does not belong to the concessionaire.”

At the end of the concession period, which lasted a number of years, the concessionaire was required to return the road in good condition with no charge to the state.

“So we’ve actually increased the value of the state by using an alternative method of funding,” Alli said.

The panel was expected to present its findings to Makhura at the end of the month.