Dr. Neil Campbell, MPL
DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Roads and Transport
The Democratic Alliance is alarmed at the extremely high cost increases of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) and Open Road Tolling (ORT).
The entire GFIP project (not just the phase 1 stage where we are now) was initially estimated to cost R 6.3 billion and was sold to Parliament on that basis. We are now informed that the cost of the phase 1 project alone has escalated to R 89.7 billion.
This figure has never been made public before, despite numerous attempts by the DA and the media to obtain this information over the last few years including a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application to the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL).
The full costs and their breakdown should have been provided to the public long ago. The fact that this is public money and must be repaid by the public seems to elude SANRAL and the Transport Minister.
Of huge concern is:
A) The high cost of borrowing with interest over the 20 year period, which amounts to R38.3 billion, or more than 6 times the initial price for the entire GFIP including the now stagnated phase 2 and
B) The toll operating costs on the exorbitantly expensive ORT, which amount to double the original price for the entire system.
C) The possibility of corruption and kick-backs when such huge sums of money are involved.
It’s no wonder that Nazir Alli kept the real cost of the project such a closely guarded secret.
We hope that the Public Protector includes the escalating costs in her investigation of the toll contracts.