More controversy for Sanral boss in Cape toll saga

The City of Cape Town revealed information about Nazir Alli’s controversial role in launching the project.

FILE: Sanral CEO Nazir Alli (Centre). Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - Court documents show that South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Nazir Alli did not get board approval when initially giving the N1/N2 Winelands Toll Project the green light.

The City of Cape Town has revealed information about Alli's controversial role in getting the proposed project off the ground after it was given the go ahead to do so by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

The court on Monday set aside a Western Cape High Court ruling that ensured details surrounding the tolling project were kept out of the public domain.

The Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa's) John Clarke said if true, Alli's actions are very concerning.

"He took the decision without going to his board and without properly dealing with it in terms of political oversight. That is very serious that a CEO of a company should actually have that sort of power. That is more from a procedural point of view, a very serious matter."

The city's Brett Herron said in an attempt to correct the mistake, Sanral management recently went looking for board approval.

"What Sanral has done recently is once they've realised that we discovered this, they tried to correct it and they've taken a decision very recently which we're also applying for to set aside."

'DAYLIGHT ROBBERY'

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has also come out saying the tolling project is "state-sponsored daylight robbery."

The DA's Manny de Freitas said, "We want to know how is it that they've made these major decisions where the people of the Western Cape will be paying three times more than what even Gautengers are paying at the moment so this whole thing doesn't sit well and seems very suspicious on how the whole process was followed."

The city released previously confidential information about how much motorists will pay if the tolling project is implemented.

It's been revealed public transport vehicles are only eligible for a 50 percent discount, while motorists could pay nearly three times what Gauteng motorists are paying for e-tolls.

It has also become evident that if the Minister of Transport were to determine lower toll tariffs the consortium managing the project is entitled to under the concession contract, Sanral would have to reimburse the difference.

In 2013, the City was granted an interim interdict blocking the project, pending a full review, which is scheduled to be heard in the Western Cape High court in August.

Sanral has since released a short statement saying it respects the judicial process and will discuss the matter with its legal representatives before making any public pronouncements.