National News/ 19 May 2022, 18:23pm/ Mandla Nkosi
The South African National Road Agency logo: image supplied
Bloemfontein: The South African National Road Agency’s (Sanral) board decided not to approve the awarding of four tenders valued at R10.6 billion, over a “material irregularity.”
Another tender valued at R6.8 billion lapsed.
In a statement, Sanral noted the cancellations would delay the implementation of “critical” infrastructure projects but stressed that governance procedures were important to uphold.
“… It cannot be said that governance procedures must be thrown out of the window because we are all now rushing implementation,” the statement read.
The material irregularity in question relates to a resolution made by the board in January 2020, which was not implemented in the evaluation of the tenders.
“It is common knowledge that for a proper governance environment to exist, board decisions must be implemented by management – unless, of course, the argument is about the legality of the board decision in question.
“Any alternative to that will result in the breakdown of governance and indeed in chaos, something which Sanral has hitherto avoided,” the statement read.
The board’s decision to cancel the tender awards was informed by an internal assurance process and an external legal opinion.
“No prudent board would have allowed such awards to go ahead in the face of legal opinion and the conclusions reached by internal audit,” Sanral said.
Among the tenders that were not awarded include the Mtentu Bridge project, valued at around R3.4 billion, which forms part of the N2 Wild Coast Road Project – aimed at connecting four provinces; Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. The bridge, once completed, is set to become one of the highest bridges in Africa and among the longest in the world once completed, Sanral previously said.
Other tenders include the Ashburton Interchange on the N3 1.8 billion), rehabilitation of the R56 Matatiele (R1.057 billion) and improvements to the EB Cloete Interchange (R4.302 billion).
The Open Road Tolling tender, valued at R6.8 billion, lapsed.
Earlier on Wednesday Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula tabled his department’s budget vote in parliament. Transfers to Sanral account for about a third (33.5%) of the department’s budget over the medium term.
The bulk of this allocated amount (59.3%) or R45.3 billion is meant for the non-toll road upgrades and refurbishment. The N2 Wild Coast Project is allocated R3.7 billion and R2.1 billion is directed to the Gauteng freeway improvement project to fund reduced projects.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula lashed out at his detractors after a severe backlash over the new driver’s licence card machine. Mbalula promised to answer all questions regarding the machine on Wednesday – and even vowed to show members of the media how the device worked.
Meanwhile Mbalula has also announced that the final pronouncement on the funding model of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, better known as the e-tolls, is imminent, transport minister
“We have been working closely with the minister of Finance to finalise outstanding matters that will enable the final determination by Cabinet on the funding of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, better known as e-tolls.
“We are alive to the adverse impact the delay in making the final decision on e-tolls has on the SANRAL, balance sheet and its ability to raise capital for its catalytic projects.
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