Eastern Cape has a R730bn headache

2010-10-28 07:19

The Eastern Cape needed R730 billion to fix its ageing and failing infrastructure, the Dispatch Online reported today.

When the figures were tabled by the department’s portfolio committee in the Bhisho legislature last week, the committee noted that “the province is under threat from ageing or inadequate infrastructure”, which has “not developed despite the growth in the (province’s) population and the backlog, which is estimated at R730 billion”.

The budget for the department this financial year is R660 million.

Committee member Veliswa Mvenya of the DA said the growing backlog was a direct result of poor planning.

“The department has no plan in place to ensure that the provincial municipalities were using their municipal infrastructure grants for the intended purpose, which is to build and maintain infrastructure properly,” said Mvenya.

The Eastern Cape director of the SA Local Government Association, Chris Magwangqana, said the backlog was beyond municipalities’ budgets.

“Most of our towns in the province are very old and the demand for municipal services is higher than the capacity we have.

“Our biggest challenge is to build technical support and engineering expertise in low-capacity municipalities, especially in the rural areas.”

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