KZN roads to cost R17 bln

2014-08-15 00:00

THE Transport Department requires R17 billion to wipe out the backlog in repairing and maintaining roads in KwaZulu-Natal — but with only about R3 billion set aside for this purpose, it could take up to 10 years to eliminate the shortfall.

“This excludes investment required to address the backlog relating to the upgrade of gravel to tar,” Transport MEC Willies Mchunu said yesterday when tabling a R9 billion budget for his department in the legislature.

He said when roads were not maintained, they deteriorated into “shameful” potholes.

Mchunu said the bulk of this year’s budget would go towards road maintenance.

He announced R6,9 billion in the department’s budget was for transport infrastructure.

Another R3,8 billion was allocated for maintenance and R2,9 billion for road construction and upgrade.

Mchunu said the department would accelerate the infrastructure roll out development in rural communities.

“Special focus would be paid to key and strategic projects that link rural communities to economic hubs and major corridors.”

Mchunu added that a R1,8 billion provincial roads maintenance grant would be spent on regraveling and blading roads.

“We have also set aside R107 million in the financial years 2014 -2016 for repairs to roads damaged by floods.”

The programme of patching potholes in the province — at a cost of R5 million — was on course and one of the pilot sites would be in eThekwini Metro, he announced.

“We will forge ahead with this strategy implementation, ensuring we deliver to our target of establishing a contractor on site within 48 hours,” Mchunu added.

He stated his department allocated R44,4 million for programmes linked to the expanded public works programme.

The department also allocated R1,4 million for the capacity building of contractors. Plans were in place to explore opportunities for emerging contractors with the Department of Economic Affairs, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mchunu said.

He added 60 000 work opportunities would be created in this financial year through infrastructure programmes.

“An allocation of expanded public works incentive grant of R59,4 million has been received in the 2014/15 [financial year].”

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