The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) has described as “questionable” the South African National Roads Agency Ltd’s (Sanral) “extraordinary increased revaluation of their road asset base”.
The civic group on Monday also cast doubts on the revaluation’s credibility as Sanral had “performed the revaluation internally…utilising information supplied by industry experts”‚ rather than external valuers.
This came in response to an announcement by Transport Minister Dipuo Peters last Friday that Sanral “had delayed their latest round of bond auctions in order to await the country’s sovereign credit rating from Standard and Poor’s”.
“Over the past few years‚ Sanral have had a series of cancelled bond auctions‚ with their difficulty to raise bond capital largely put down to the uncertainty of the e-toll scheme’s success or poor market trading conditions‚” Outa said in statement.
It claimed that in seeking to “make their debt vs liability ratio look healthier than it really is”‚ Sanral’s assets “have ‘artificially’ skyrocketed‚ as well as Sanral’s debt to short-term asset ratio and cash flow”.
“Sanral’s indebtedness on its toll portfolio has grown from a debt of R6.2-billion for 1500km of Sanral-administered toll roads in 2007‚ to over R47.1-Billion in 2015 for 1832 km. “This increase of over 522% in debt‚ coupled with an increase of only 332 km on their toll road portfolio‚ does not appear to have a corresponding increase in revenue generated‚ even in light of what they had hoped to achieve with the Gauteng e-tolls.”
Outa chairman Wayne Duvenage said: “We find it rather imprudent that minister Peters blames media coverage of the much resisted e-toll system for the road agency’s poor fortunes at the bond markets.
“What the media have merely done is exposed the public’s anger and resistance to an irrational government scheme which the authorities refuse to realise has dismally failed.”[Source: Times Live/TMG Digital]