• Plummeting traffic volumes hit toll roads – and the Gautrain – hard.
  • In some cases public-private partnerships will claim lost revenues from their insurance companies, the Treasury said in its budget review on Wednesday.
  • But for the Chapman's Peak Drive toll road, and the Gautrain, provincial governments have to pay up.
  • In the case of Gauteng, that will mean a R400 million hit.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

The huge drops in traffic volumes on toll roads, and passengers using the Gautrain, is going to cost both insurance companies and two provincial governments, the national Treasury said in its budget review published on Wednesday.

State guarantees set a floor level of revenue for some capital-heavy private-public partnerships, and the impact of the coronavirus and associated lockdowns have triggered those.

For the Gauteng province, that comes to a big number.

The Bombela Concession Company, which runs the Gautrain, "is expected to lose about R700 million", Treasury said, "and the provincial government’s patronage guarantee is expected to exceed its current budget by R400 million.

"The Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport is expected to absorb this amount."

It expects passenger numbers to remain low for some time, but can not yet quantify the final impact.

The Western Cape will not be as hard hit by its forced contributions to the Chapman's Peak toll road. In April 2020, traffic on that road was down 99% compared to the year before, Treasury said. By December it had recovered to 70% of the previous year. 

A provincial government guarantee of debt payments has already seen the Western Cape pay R14 million more than budgeted. The Western Cape Department of Roads and Transport now "estimates that it will pay about R10 million more in 2021 due to reduced traffic".

For the toll roads that fall under the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral), the Treasury said, "agreements specify that any loss emanating from traffic volumes is borne by the private operator."

Those operators are generally claiming against insurance – in payments that could be huge. On the N4 between Tshwane and Maputo, revenue losses are estimated at just shy of R300 million up to July 2020. For the N4 between Rustenburg and Tshwane, revenue lost between March 2020 and September 2020 stood at more than R371 million.

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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