Menu

SANRAL

The past few years has seen ‘SANRAL’ become a bit of a tarnished name in South Africa. There again, tax collectors have never been public hero No.1, and it is thanks to the Etoll system on Gauteng’s national roads that SANRAL has fallen into disfavour. Thing is, however, SANRAL has been managing the Republic’s national roads system since 1998, when The South African National Roads Agency Limited and National Roads Act1 was implemented. Seeing that the Republic’s national road system is apparently the best on the African continent, at least, it can’t be doing too badly.

The Act established the national roads agency to take charge of the development, maintenance and rehabilitation of national roads. The Act falls under the authority of the Minister of Transport, but SANRAL is governed by a Board of Directors with a Chief Executive Officer.2

A. Tolls

SANRAL can, with the Minister’s approval, declare any specified national road, or portion thereof, to be a toll road for the purposes of the Act.3 It can grant exemption from the tolls for certain types of vehicles, and certain types of users,4 and has other powers in regard to the levying of tolls.

  1. Any person who is liable to pay tolls and who refuses or fails to do so commits a criminal offence.5

B. National roads

Certain of our roads are declared as ‘national’ roads – so, the N1 is national road 1, and we get the N2, N3, and so on.6 This is because the road in question has national coverage, or national significance, unlike provincial roads (the R21, etc.) and regional roads (the R101, etc.).

  1. It is a criminal offence to take a vehicle onto a national road except at an entrance provided for that purpose.7

  2. Equally, it is an offence to take a vehicle off a national road except at an exit provided for that purpose.8

  3. You may only enter, or exit a national road which is fenced at the place provided for that purpose, and commit an offence if you do otherwise.9
  4. SANRAL can close national roads to traffic, and can also divert the roadway of a national road. If you use a national road which is closed to traffic, without SANRAL’s permission, you commit an offence.10

  5. If you wilfully or negligently damage a national road, you commit a criminal offence.11

  6. It is an offence to erect, construct or establish any structure or other thing on, or over, or below the surface of a national road.12 13

  7. If you make any structural alteration or addition to a structure or any other thing on a national road, you commit an offence.14

  8. It is also an offence to give permission for those prohibited activities.15

  9. Except as provided in the Act,16 if you carry on trade, or manufacture or put on sale any goods on a national road (without SANRAL’s written permission) you commit an offence.17

  10. Any SANRAL employee (and any municipal or provincial traffic officer) who suspects that you are so carrying on such trade, or manufacturing or selling goods, can demand that you produce the written permission from SANRAL. If you fail to do so, he can demand your name and address. It is a criminal offence to refuse or fail to give your name and address.18

  11. The SANRAL employee or traffic officer can also order you to remove all articles, structures, tents, vehicles, and the like which he suspects are used in connection with the conduct in question. It is a criminal offence to fail to obey such an order.19

C. Building restriction areas

This is the area (excluding land in an urban area) consisting of land situated alongside a national road within a distance of 60 metres from its boundary, and also the area situated within a distance of 500 metres from any point of intersection.20

  1. The offences concerning structures on, over or below the surface of national roads21 also apply to land in a building restriction area.22

  2. Except as provided in the Act,23 if you carry on trade, or manufacture or put on sale any goods in a building restriction area (without SANRAL’s written permission) you commit an offence.24
  3. Any SANRAL employee (and any municipal or provincial traffic officer) who suspects that you are so carrying on such trade, or manufacturing or selling goods can demand that you produce the written permission from SANRAL. If you fail to do so, he can demand your name and address. It is a criminal offence to refuse or fail to do so.25

  4. The SANRAL employee or traffic officer can also order you to remove all articles, structures, tents, vehicles, and the like which he suspects are used in connection with the conduct in question. It is a criminal offence to fail to obey such an order.26

D. Advertising alongside national roads

An ‘advertisement’ means a visible representation of a word, name (or abbreviation thereof) or of a letter, figure, object, sign or symbol, or a light.27 Except as is provided for in the Act,28 it is an offence to:

E. Abandoned vehicles, machinery and rubbish

  1. It is a criminal offence to leave a disused vehicle, machine or their parts on a national road.35

  2. It is a criminal offence to deposit any rubbish or other refuse on a national road.36

  3. If you leave any disused vehicle, machinery or part so as to be visible from a national road you commit an offence:37
    • if it is on land outside an urban area and within 150 metres from the road;38 or
    • if it is on land in an urban area, and the land adjoins the national road or is separated from it by a street.39
  4. The same applies to any rubbish or other refuse.40
  1. As amended; the latest amendments effected by Act 3 of 2013. 

  2. SANRAL’s head office is at 48 Tambotie Avenue, Val-De-Grace, Pretoria (tel: 012 844 8000) and www.nra.co.za

  3. Section 27(1)(a)1. 

  4. Section 27(1)(c). 

  5. Section 27(5)a. 

  6. There are 18 in all – see www.transport.gov.za – ‘South African Numbered Route Description and Destination Analysis’. 

  7. Section 44(1)(a) read with section 44(8)a. 

  8. Section 44(1)(b) read with section 44(8)a. 

  9. Section 44(1)(c) read with section 44(8)a. 

  10. Section 45(2). 

  11. Section 46(1). 

  12. This does not apply if you have SANRAL’s written permission. There are also exemptions on the case of the South African Rail Commuter Corporation, and bona fide farming operation structures – See section 48(2). 

  13. Section 48(1)(a) read with section 48(8). 

  14. Section 48(1)(b) read with section 48(8). 

  15. Section 48(1)() read with section 48(8). 

  16. See Section 2 for the exemptions. 

  17. Section 52(1) read with section 52(4)(a)i. 

  18. Section 52(4)(a)ii. 

  19. Section 52(4)(a)iii. 

  20. See the definition in section 1 of the Act. 

  21. See B.6–8 above. 

  22. Section 48(1) read with section 48(8). 

  23. See Section 2 for the exemptions. 

  24. Section 52(1) read with section 52(4)(a)i. 

  25. Section 52(4)(a)ii. 

  26. Section 52(4)(a)iii. 

  27. See the definition in section 1 of the Act. 

  28. See Section 50(2) for the exceptions. 

  29. Section 50(1)(a) read with section 50(5). 

  30. Section 50(1)(a) read with section 50(5). 

  31. Section 50(1)(b) read with section 50(5). 

  32. Section 50(1)(b) read with section 50(5). 

  33. Section 50(1)(c) read with section 50(5). 

  34. Section 50(1)(c) read with section 50(5). 

  35. Section 51(1)(a) read with section 51(4). 

  36. Section 51(1)(a) read with section 51(4). 

  37. This does not apply if you have SANRAL’s written permission. 

  38. Section 51(1)(b)(i) read with section 51(4). 

  39. Section 51(1)(b)(ii) read with section 51(4). 

  40. Section 51(1)(b) read with section 51(4).