Johannesburg 26 November 2021 – Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has acknowledged the critical role played by the South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited’s (SANRAL) national road network, in enabling the country’s economic activity.

The Minister says national roads link provinces to economic hubs as well as regional and international markets: “This is completed by the secondary and tertiary road networks that enable access to centres of economic activity and social infrastructure, as well amenities for our communities.”

Mbalula was speaking at a media briefing in Johannesburg, during which he outlined the state of the department’s entities, as well as the transport sector’s contribution to the economic reconstruction and recovery programme that was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in October last year.

“More than 76% of land freight is hauled on the country’s national road network, accounting for 73.8% of the total land freight’s income. This places a heavy burden on the country’s road network and requires significant resources for maintenance and rehabilitation.

“Our objective to migrate 10% of road freight to rail is meant to alleviate this pressure and preserve the longevity and pristine nature of our national road network. SANRAL therefore has a key role to play in enabling this shift from road to rail and must work together with the Department of Transport and other state organs to realise it,” added Mbalula.

The Minister also commended the role that SANRAL plays in building the capacity of other road authorities across the African continent, providing commercial engineering advisory and commercial services. “In the execution of our role as a Champion for the North-South Corridor of the African Union, SANRAL has a key responsibility to lead the charge, working with fellow African countries and state agencies to drive the roads agenda. SANRAL is therefore working towards developing and strengthening partnerships with countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and across the continent to advance sustainable road infrastructure development,” said Mbalula.

Giving an update on the imminent announcement on the final decision on the future of e-tolls, Mbalula said the decision will be made by Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana in his Budget Speech in February next year.

“Delays in the announcement have been largely informed by the financial implications and various scenarios that we have been looking at in order to respond a final decision on e-tolls,” he said.