The resignation of South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) CEO Nazir Alli has dealt another blow to the agency’s plan to toll Gauteng roads.
The Chairman of the Sanral board, Tembakazi Mnyaka, issued a statement announcing the resignation that was received and accepted at a board meeting on Monday (7 May). Mnyaka says Alli will hold the position until 3 June, when the resignation will take effect.
The news comes a week after North Gauteng High Court judge Bill Prinsloo stalled the implementation of the e-tolling system pending a full review by the court.
Alli had been at the helm of the agency since 1998. No reason for the resignation was given.
“The immediate focus and priority of the Board is to ensure that Sanral continues to perform its essential role in operating and maintaining more than 16 000km of national roads across South Africa,” Mnyaka said.
Reaction to the resignation is mixed. The ANC says it was caught off guard by the move. The Democratic Alliance called it encouraging. Member of Parliament Neil Campbell is quoted saying while Alli had managed the construction of an excellent road network, he was a poor communicator.
Campbell hopes Alli’s successor will be a better communicator who will allow genuine public participation. Wayne Duvenhage of the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (Outa), which led the urgent interdict against e-tolling on 28 April, suspects the e-tolling system was a catalyst for the resignation.
Duvenhage says he wishes Alli well and looks forward to resolving the tolling issue.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has welcomed the news. “We hope this marks the end of the Gauteng e-tolling project of which he was the chief public spokesperson,” says spokesman Patrick Craven.