KZN oversight visit reveals more than R1billion to be spent on Sani Pass Road

Alf Lees, MP

National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Member of Parliament for KwaZulu-Natal

DURING the past week the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) has been involved in the bi-annual provincial oversight visit week, visiting the Sisonke District of KwaZulu-Natal.

The trip involved large numbers – in excess of 40 at any one time – of NCOP, legislature and municipal officials as well as MPL’s, Mayors and councillors. All travelled large distances mostly in their own vehicles and stayed in hotels and other accommodation, all at taxpayer expense.

Despite the primary role of the NCOP visit being oversight of local government and provincial government service delivery and audit outcomes, a great deal of time was spent visiting sweetheart projects of housing, farming and tourism.

The DA was horrified to learn that the complete rebuilding of the road from Himeville to the Lesotho border at the top of Sani Pass is likely to exceed a billion rand with an amount of R285 million already spent on the first 14 km of road to the bottom of the pass.

Ultimately this new road, which will pass through the Okhahlamba World Heritage Site, will serve as a good road for Lesotho citizens to travel to Underberg to do their shopping, but will have a significantly negative impact on eco-tourism of the district.

The DA believes that the priority must be to use this enormous amount of money to maintain the existing road network that is rapidly collapsing due to decades of neglect by successive provincial governments.

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