Sanral board questioned over Alli actions

Koos Smit will be Sanral's acting CEO until a permanent placement is made.

Sanral's acting CEO Koos Smit.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) has been urged to move swiftly in appointing a permanent chief executive and repairing its deteriorating reputation.

News of Nazir Alli's sudden resignation broke on Tuesday, leading to speculation that he was a scapegoat for his political bosses. Alii was under immense pressure, as the face of Sanral, over the intended implementation of the eTolls system on Gauteng's highways.

Sanral's board said it was not given nor did it ask for Alli's reasons for leaving.

Business Leadership South Africa's Michael Spicer said this left many questions.

"It would be extremely unusual in such circumstances for a board not to inquire. The most important thing is to seek reasons and to reflect on those as a board."

He said the race was now on to fix the damage done.

"The markets move quickly. Reputation and rating agencies are sitting in the wings. It's of the utmost importance to move fast to address all these issues."

The board denied Alli was forced to resign and said despite all the speculation, Alli's decision to resign was strictly his own.

The organisation announced on Wednesday that engineer Koos Smit would be taking over from Alli in an acting capacity from next month.

Sanral's board said it would support Smit, who would be coming in at a difficult time.

In a statement, the board confirmed that Smit would stay on until a permanent CEO was appointed.

The Transport Department confirmed that Allie would continue to help Sanral with major projects after his departure.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has, in the meantime, called for the organisation's board to step down.