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Operation of Roads and Toll Roads in South Africa
Roads systems form the backbone of South Africa’s socio-economic activities by facilitating the movement of people and goods. The road network is approximately 750,000km, the tenth longest road network in the world. Responsibility for these roads is split between national, provincial and municipal road authorities. Most of the national roads are paved and more than 80% of the provincial network consists of gravel roads.
South Africa’s road maintenance backlog is growing steadily and is estimated at R197bn. Government has limited funds to meet the road maintenance requirements and expansion of the road network to handle the increased number of vehicles and rapidly-expanding towns and cities. The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral), which manages national roads, plans to spend R30bn on road construction projects, and 15 road-related projects valued at R47bn and estimated to create 50,000 jobs are among infrastructure projects gazetted in July 2020.
As much as 90% of goods moved in South Africa are transported by road. Heavy vehicles and overloading cause damage to the road surface, compounding the maintenance backlog and cost of road repairs. Poor road conditions increase transport costs. Efforts to move freight and passengers from road to rail will reduce transport costs, congestion and environmental impacts.
This report focuses on the design, construction, operation, management and maintenance of roads and toll roads, and includes information on the state and size of the sector, infrastructure developments and budgets and influencing factors including coronavirus, policy, road conditions and the status of e-tolls. There are profiles of nine companies including Sanral and companies involved in tollgate operations such as Tolcon Group, Entilini Concession, Trans African Concessions and Electronic Toll Collection and N3 Toll Concession.