The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) says that while it agrees that “it ought to be transparent in its dealings with third parties”, it is also obliged to protect the rights of these parties.
This comes after the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) made a formal request for information in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA), stating that Sanral had ignored a written request for information on the contract concluded between the State-owned agency and toll concessionaire N3 Toll Concession (N3TC).
“We believe the contracts with ‘long distance’ road tolling concessionaire companies must be transparent and their books opened to the public, as we believe there is a possibility that concessionaires could be benefiting from excessive profits, part of which may require credit to the road users in reduced toll fees or returns to Sanral,” Outa accountability division head Advocate Stefanie Fick said in a July 7 media release.
Sanral communications GM Vusi Mona, however, says that in terms Section of 36 of PAIA, Sanral has the right to protect the commercial information of third parties.
"As Section 36 is a mandatory obligation set upon Sanral to protect the commercial rights of these third parties, we will have no other choice but to defend such an application in accordance with the law,” he notes.
Sanral adds that there is no merit in Outa’s assertion that tolling concessionaires contracted by Sanral are making excessive profits.
All Sanral concession contracts contain clauses that prevent excessive profit scenarios, Mona notes, adding that all of Sanral’s concessionaires’ annual financial statements are independently reviewed by the Auditor-General of South Africa.