Free State Roads An Embarrassment

Roy Jankielsohn

DA Leader in the Free State

The Free State roads network is an embarrassment for the province. Not only are most provincial roads dangerous to drive on, but the department responsible for the management of these roads does not appear to showing improvement. Contractors are not paid; work has stopped on some roads causing job losses, and the Roadsgate Scandal is still under wraps.

The apologies received yesterday from the MEC for Roads, Mr Komphela and his Head of Department, Mr Msibi, indicating that they were unable to attend a meeting of the Portfolio Committee Police, Roads and Transport due to an Executive Committee meeting is further proof of growing problems in the legislature. The inability of the legislature to liaise with the executive over a simple aspect such as programming is further proof of this.

It is crucial that the legislature is able to obtain information from the political and administrative heads of department in order to carry out oversight and hold the executive constitutionally accountable. While the province’s roads are in a shocking condition, and there are serious questions over the allocation of an alleged R1,9 billion worth of tenders, the Portfolio Committee is unable to get answers. The only information that the committee was able to get was that an investigation has taken place and two senior individuals in the department resigned while one was dismissed. Further questions on these issues or on the status of the province’s roads were not answered due to the lack of information available to the individuals responsible for reporting to the commttee.

Both the legislature and the executive of the Free State appear to be in a state of limbo while the ANC is attempting to deal with factionalism and a leadership race. This is also affecting the functioning of the legislature and its ability to hold departments to account. It appears that only the MEC for Agriculture, Mr Zwane, attended to his commitments to the legislature this week.

The DA has submitted questions through the legislature to the MEC for Police, Roads and Transport in order to try and get some answers from him (see attached questions).

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