Winelands N1/N2 Toll Roads: war of words erupts between City of Cape Town and SANRAL!


SANRAL logoI believe that I am a typical Western Cape resident, who thinks that toll roads are a Gauteng headache, and that City of Cape Town court cases against SANRAL (The South African National Roads Agency Ltd) have kept this scourge away from our province.  A full-page SANRAL advertisement in the Cape Times yesterday made me sit up and take notice!

The advertisement is boring in that it is copy-based only, the SANRAL logo being the only visual element.  The nonsensical headline makes it look like a ‘home made’ ad : ‘N1/N2 WINELANDS Frequently Asked‘!   Looking at it broadly, the information is haphazardly documented, with no logical flow.

At the very end the attack against the City of Cape Town (referred incorrectly as the ‘City Council’) is packaged, SANRAL Cape Times adrejects the City’s claim that the Protea Parkway Consortium (not explained, other than a vague reference to it as ‘the preferred bidder‘) will make R48 billion profit (time-period not specified, only referring to the ‘concession period‘), as shared in the media.  It adds that the bidder will have to fund from its toll road income the costs of constructing the infrastructure, maintain and rehabilitate the two highways for the next 30 years, upgrade the roads ‘within a LOS’ (not explained), ‘carry out RRM’ (undefined), ‘carries the risk of traffic growth‘ (but the impact of this is not explained), will carry the cost of toll collection, and must pay taxes!

The ad informs that the ‘tolling strategy‘ for the N1-N2 Winelands is defined as per the SANRAL ACT 27 of 1998.  Toll stations are planned on the N1 at Joostenbergvlakte, at the existing Huguenot Tunnel, and at Sandhills (not geographically defined in the ad).  On the N2 the toll stations would be erected at Kuilsriver (between the Swartklip Interchange and Somerset West), Firlands (not defined but in the Somerset West/Gordon’s Bay area), and at Bot River.  The ad reveals that e-tolling has not been considered for the project, as used in Gauteng, and ‘may only be considered after 15 – 20 years when the daily traffic reaches 90000 vehicles’.  

The toll fees have not yet been set, the ad informs, blaming the City for the hold-up ‘as the tender process was stopped by the City of Cape Town’. The Minister of Transport has jurisdiction for the toll fees, and not SANRAL.  A discount is to be offered for frequent usage.  The ad contains 2000 and 2010 (adjusted for inflation) toll fees,  under headings of ‘Low‘ and ‘High’ but not defined in the ad copy.  The 2010 ‘High’ toll fees range from R17,87 for the N1 toll stations, R26,81 for the N2 toll stations, and R53,62 for the Huguenot Tunnel. Whether taxis will pay toll fees will be at the discretion of the Minister!

The public will have a say on toll roads ‘when the Minister of Transport invite (sic) them to do so‘!  A technical mouthful of an answer addresses the question why the roads outside of Cape Town should be tolled at all: ‘The demand for all infrastructure including social, utilities (electricity, water, etc), housing, general transportation, roads and bridges far outstrips conventional fiscal funding resources. Where economically and financially viable, alternative financing mechanisms such as the user pays principle are utilised to supplement the funding shortfall from National Treasury.  Toll financing also reduce (sic) the demands on tax based revenues for road infrastructure, and because of the immediate availability of loan funding, it accelerates implementation of road infrastructure’. 

Unsurprisingly City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee member of Transport for Cape Town Brett Herron slammed the wasteful Cape Times advertisement yesterday, and said that SANRAL should ‘stop wasting tax payers’ money on expensive advertisements to mislead the public’.  On 11 August the City of Cape Town faces SANRAL in court, with an application for the Western Cape High Court to review and set aside the Winelands toll project.  In its media response today, the City of Cape Town stated that SANRAL would save R32 billion if it builds and maintains the N1 and N2 highways from its own funds, at a cost of R22 billion, rather than use a concessionaire to fund the roads via tolling.

Herron has a lot happening at the moment, fighting off SANRAL, and making sure that the Camps Bay Drive expansion and resurfacing over the next five months runs smoothly! One wonders why the Western Cape government doe not fight the SANRAL fight, when most of the proposed toll plazas will be based on non-Cape Town land!

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio:  Tel (021) 433-2100, Twitter:@WhaleCottage  Facebook:  click here

Please follow and like us:
Tweet 27k

WhaleTales Blog


We don’t spam!

Read our privacy policy for more info.