20 Years and R20 billion to Fix Free State Roads

Roy Jankielsohn

DA leader in the Free State

Roads in the Free State continue to deteriorate with 70% of surfaced (tarred) and 90% of gravel roads in non trafficable, poor, or very poor condition. This information comes from a reply to a question by the DA to the MEC for Police, Roads and Transport, Mr Butana Komphela. The DA has been placing pressure on the provincial government since 2010 to carry out a new visual assessment of surfaced roads in the province, since any national assistance is subject to, among others, such an assessment. This assessment was completed in November 2011.

The reply further indicates that the total backlog to repair the Free State provincial roads network to an “acceptable level of service” is currently R20,059 billion. This is an increase of R5 billion from the amount of R15 billion indicated in 2010 by the former MEC, Mr Thabo Manyoni.

The MEC indicates that the 23 roads that were identified in 2009 remain a priority and that the department has a 20 year plan to address all the road backlogs. A funding model for this has been accepted by the Director General of the National Department of Transport and National Treasury has been approached for support.  This implies that the Free state might have to wait 20 years for the roads crisis to be adequately addressed and only subject to national assistance.

The DA will support any reasonable measures to improve our provincial roads network. Our provincial economy requires a sound roads network in order to ensure investment and development. The provincial economy will not develop with tarred roads which are only 12% good to very good and 17% fair, and gravel roads that are only 10% fair to very good. The implementation of the Free State Growth and Development Strategy will only to place if our provincial roads network is high on the agendas of both our provincial and national governments.

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