JOHANNESBURG - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Thursday said the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) will regret its efforts to persuade CEO Nazir Alli to reconsider his resignation over the e-tolling scandal.
There has been mixed reaction to the news that Alli will remain in his post, which comes just days before he was due to depart.
It also has emerged that government is considering introducing a new bill to bail out Sanral while the legal battle over e-tolling continues. Government is concerned its credit rating will take a dive if it cannot repay loans it secured to fund the tolling system.
Cosatu's Zwelinzima Vavi said e-tolling has plunged government into an "unbelievable" publicity crisis, while Alli has been stubborn and unhelpful.
“We think that the decision is the wrong one and government will live to regret that they asked him to stay in the job, whilst he was throwing in the towel,” said Vavi.
The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance's (OUTA) said the playing field has changed and Alli has had time to think.
“Sanral have just gone down the wrong road when it comes to tolling,” said OUTA's Wayne Duvenage.
“It was under his watch that the decision was made and for that we need to continue challenging him.”
The Transport Department explained that Sanral had asked Alli to return because it felt he had been unfairly blamed for the e-tolling scandal.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe on Thursday revealed that Alli had agreed to stay on, despite the board’s earlier announcement of his departure and the appointment of board member Koos Smit as acting CEO.
Business Unity South Africa (Busa) said it had a number of ideas that could help the inter-ministerial committee looking into e-tolling.
Busa requested to meet committee chair Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to talk about how best to resolve the e-tolling impasse.
“The issue of e-tolling is bound up with the whole question of the road infrastructure.
“We are working on some options which we hope we can share if and when we can secure a meeting,” said Busa's Raymond Parsons.
Earlier this month there were calls for the roads agency to allay rumours surrounding Alli's departure by giving the reasons behind the move.
In a surprise announcement the agency revealed it had accepted the CEO’s resignation, but itdeclined to give any reasons for Alli’s exit.
The company issued a brief statement on the subject and said it had nothing else to add.
April saw the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria granting an interdict to halt the Gauteng e-tolling project, pending the outcome of a legal review.
At the time, Duvenage believed the court ruling had probably prompted Alli’s decision and said the case was a catalyst to Alli’s resignation.
(Edited by Clare Matthes)