By Cllr Isabel Thompson, Buffalo City Metro Municipality:
July marked the beginning of the new financial year and R160 million has been ring fenced for road maintenance. Officials from the BCMM roads and finance departments have acknowledged that all votes for road maintenance are open and that residents will see a marked difference in the repair of potholes all over the city from 1 August 2015.
The commitment of the new mayor, Alfred Mtsi, the amount of money budgeted for to do pothole repairs and the guarantee that bitumen is readily available and has been sourced from Johannesburg will hopefully result in residents getting value for their rates each month.
Some of the problem areas experienced by Councillors is that the pothole maintenance programmes that appear before Council are generalized which makes oversight very difficult. Another real problem is the very poor quality of workmanship in filling potholes by both BCMM and externally appointed service providers. A very big part of the problem is when Telkom, service providers and/or other BCMM departments (water and electricity) excavate the roads to do maintenance and then never properly rehabilitate the roads after their jobs are completed.
The ever increasing size and number of potholes in BCMM is a matter of grave concern to all road users. They are the cause of vehicle and tyre damage and a source of much frustration. People have questioned why cars need to be roadworthy when so many of the roads in BCMM are not carworthy. It is sadly ironic that an ignored pothole in Amalinda has now been dubbed a firepool given the amount of tax payer money that has been spent on THE firepool and that residents see almost no value for money for the rates they pay monthly anywhere in our Metro.
Ward committee members report various issues and they too experience the frustration when issues (such as potholes) are reported and never get attention. Almost every feeder road in the suburbs within the Metro are in dire need of patching or overlaying and have been allowed to deteriorate at an alarming pace over the past financial year.
In late June mayor Mtsi identified the condition of our roads and the filth in our metro as areas that require radical intervention.
The Democratic Alliance believes in freedom, fairness and opportunity and we will continue to hold BCMM officials accountable as it is only fair that ratepayers get value for the money they pay via their rates each month.