The government wants to move with haste to resolve the e-tolls debacle in an effort to restore the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) to its full borrowing capacity, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said.
“We had already started, but were derailed by the pandemic. But we are back to it now. We have got to finalise it and get it done, so that the Sanral borrowing capacity can be unleashed and restore confidence in investors,” he said on Thursday.
He was speaking at the launch of Transport Month and the opening of the Hammarsdale interchange project between Durban and Pietermaritzburg.
“We looked at the hybrid model for e-tolls, but we know we are up against a revolt. We are looking at that in relation to the scrapping and what then becomes the alternative,” he told journalists at the Mpumalanga Regional Stadium in Hammarsdale.
He also spoke on the recent arrests stemming from the state capture inquiry.
“Justice Zondo is doing his job and he does not need any favours from anybody. I don’t want tomorrow to be seen as interfering with law enforcement, but they must do their job without fear or favour.”
He said the authorities had to ensure that the state and the rule of law “runs supreme in our country”.
“It is not my call, it is the call of those that do the work. We, as citizens and government, want the state organs to function properly. President Ramaphosa has worked hard to ensure the state redeems itself in terms of the rule of law. Certain things have been happening with impunity.”
Mbalula also said he expected Sanral to roll out upcoming infrastructure projects, valued at R177 billion, with zero corruption.
“We are expanding to rural areas to for infrastructure projects. We are spending R177 billion on infrastructure projects.
“We want them delivered on time with the full empowerment of our people. Where there is corruption, mitigating mechanisms must be put in place and Sanral has done that with diligence over the years, and we expect them to continue with those.”
He added: “Those who are working to derail projects, the state and rule of law will prevail to ensure we succeed.”
Mbalula said that, in the past, there had been attempts to extort the government.
“We have had groupings that mobilised themselves, demanding 30% from most of the projects.
“We wish to warn those that this is not the way to do things. There is no one who is going to stand in the way of the empowerment of our people. They deserve to be empowered indeed.”