Skhumbuzo Macozoma is leaving the Electronic Toll Collection company to become Sanral's new boss. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko / Independent Media.

Johannesburg - Former managing director of the Johannesburg Roads Agency Skhumbuzo Macozoma has taken over from the SA National Roads Agency’s controversial head Nazir Alli.

Macozoma is chief executive of Electronic Toll Collection. He became one of the most unpopular people in Gauteng after introducing the e-tolls, a move which has probably contributed to the ANC losing substantial support in the province.

Sanral said Macozoma was “well-equipped to lead the national roads agency into a new era of growth and an expanded mandate to manage South Africa’s road infrastructure”.

After the cabinet’s announcement of Macozoma's appointment, Sanral’s board chairperson Roshan Morar said he was confident it would be welcomed within the broader engineering sector, the construction industry and the investor community.

Morar said the pace and direction of South Africa’s economic growth depended on the quality of its infrastructure and Sanral played a leading role in ensuring the country’s road network was well managed and in excellent shape. Macozoma holds a MSc in civil engineering.

Morar paid tribute to Alli, who had led the organisation from its establishment by the government of president Nelson Mandela in 1998.

“Nazir Alli is a visionary who truly understands the crucial role of roads to connect people to places and keep the wheels of the South African economy turning. We wish him well in his future endeavours and know Sanral will, in future, be able to draw on his experience and knowledge.”

Outa welcomes appointment

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) welcomed Macozoma's appointment saying Sanral “requires serious changes to address the dire financial and credibility issues that have unfolded over the past decade”.

Outa’s Wayne Duvenage said it was unfortunate Alli had left Macozoma with an organisation which was in a difficult situation, facing a possible credit-rating downgrade, as well as with the failed e-toll scheme, which had cost Sanral several billion rand.

In addition, Alli had left Macozoma with a legacy of other challenges related to the failed Western Cape freeway toll project; the N2 Wild Coast toll road debacle; questions about excessive road construction costs and a looming battle on the De Beers Pass route.

“We imagine Sanral will still be requiring the services and time of Alli to respond to these many issues, allegations and court challenges due to play out over the next while.

“In addition, Alli needs to still answer to the serious matter pertaining to questionable conduct and due process on Sanral’s approvals on the Western Cape and Gauteng toll road decisions, as well as questions due in the legal battle about to unfold on the e-toll saga,” Duvenage added.

Follow Anna Cox on Twitter: @annacox

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