PARLIAMENT- The cash-strapped SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) is set to receive a R5.8 billion cash injection from National Treasury.
According to the medium-term budget document tabled by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on Wednesday, Sanral has R38.9 billion in government-guaranteed debt, and the state-owned entity needs help to pay this.
"There is a risk that this guarantee might be called because the agency is not generating sufficient cash from the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project [GIPF] to settle redemptions falling due over the MTEF (next three financial years) period," the policy statement said.
"To prevent this, government has allocated R5.8 billion to Sanral in 2018/19."
Sanral debt has continued to pile up as many road users in Gauteng refuse to pay for using tolled freeways in the province.
I will try to protect Treasury
Mboweni said he would strive to protect the National Treasury from political interference but conceded that he would be naive to think he could succeed.
"I thought one thing I am going to try to do is provide political protection to National Treasury or to the extent that is naively possible," Mboweni told journalists shortly before tabling his policy statement.
The finance minister, who has only been in the portfolio for a few weeks, was responding to a question on how he would handle the populist wing of the ruling African National Congress.
"To keep it free from unnecessary interference, I will do that, it is nigh impossible but I will try to do that....we understand the political environment very well."
Mboweni said National Treasury held talks with leaders of political parties represented in Parliament this week, and he would delegate Deputy Minister Mondli Gungubele to liaise with them regularly to forge consensus around fiscal policy.
African News Agency (ANA)