The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) and its N3 toll concessionaire (N3TC) recorded almost R100-million in losses and damage during the July civil unrest in KwaZulu-Natal, and some other parts of the country, says outgoing Sanral CEO Skhumbuzo Macozoma.
He says Sanral suffered R50-million in lost toll income during the period, with N3TC losing R30-million in toll income.
The damage to infrastructure and additional security costs over the period reached R12-million.
N3TC recorded R7.5-million in damage, largely at the Mooi River toll plaza.
“We asked [National] Treasury for an unseen budget adjustment allocation of R62-million to cover the costs we have incurred.
“We also processed the force majeure application for N3TC for them to be able to claim their losses from insurance,”says Macozoma, who requested, and has been granted, a leave of absence from November 17 until his contract ends on November 30.
Sanral has appointed Lehlohonolo Pitse, the company’s current chief audit executive, as acting CEO, with effect from November 17 and until a new CEO takes up the position. The board is said to be at an advanced stage of the CEO recruitment process.
Macozoma says the “history of targeting key Sanral facilities came in very handy” as the agency worked to absorb the events in July.
The Mooi River toll plaza and parts of the N2 North Coast are frequent targets during incidents of civil unrest.
The history related to these events assisted Sanral in responding to the July unrest “a lot more rapidly than would have been the case otherwise . . . because we had existing platforms to take advantage of.
“Established systems for surveillance of incidents on national roads and at toll facilities also enabled the collection of real-time data – and evidence – that we were then able to use in our response plan.”
Macozoma also praises local and provincial government, Sanral concessionaire partners and toll operators for their part in addressing the unrest as it spilled over onto KwaZulu-Natal’s freeway network.
Sanral’s routine maintenance contractors were also instrumental in assessing damage to the road infrastructure, while tow-truck operators were deployed to remove blockages from the road as rapidly as possible.
The bill from the July unrest added to the one Covid-19 had already delivered to Sanral, with the roads agency recording a R640-million loss in toll revenue during the earlier, more strict lockdowns.
However, says Macozoma, the “bounceback was a lot more positive that we expected”.
“Once the lockdown reached levels 3 and 2, we got a lot more traffic, and by level 2 were at well over 95% of pre-Covid travel on our roads again.”
* Macozoma spoke at an October Transport Forum event