On the road to jobs and growth

2012-03-10 00:00

FINANCE MEC Ina Cronjé never goes anywhere without people raising the issue of roads.

This was why transport was getting the biggest slice of the infrastructure budget, followed by Human Settlements, Education and Health, she said in her budget speech.

Transport is to get almost R17 billion for roads in the 2012/13 budget.

Cronjé said the bulk of this money was for the roads maintenance backlog, with particular focus on the main corridors that will be the core stimuli of the economy.

After the budget speech, she told journalists about a visit to Nongoma when everyone complained about the condition of the road between that town and Vryheid.

“We were invited to return home via Vryheid, but we were told, you have to have a four by four and two spare tyres. We very politely declined the offer, but we did come home and do something about it.”

Finance HOD Simo Magagula explained why most of KZN’s infrastructural spend was on roads.

He said the bulk of the infrastructure projects announced by President Jacob Zuma fell within the realm of para­statals and most of the money for the projects would come from these entities.

He said that without an improved road network the province would not be able to benefit from an upgraded rail network. The national roads upgrades include Sani Pass, which links KZN to Lesotho, and improvements to the roads linking Empangeni to Eshowe and Ulundi; Impendhle to Himeville; and Sipofu and Ixopo.

For the maintenance of existing roads, an amount of R84,7 million had been set aside for the new financial year, with R134,3 million and R661,3 million for the following two financial years.

The Department of Transport would construct 13 pedestrian bridges a year over the next three years to ensure that communities had access to schools, health facilities and other amenities.

Human Settlements would get R9 billion, the bulk of which would go to slum eradication and the provision of housing for residents in these informal settlements.

The Education Department would use most of its R7,6 billion infrastructure spend to address backlogs in the provision of classrooms, toilets, computer rooms, laboratories and media centres.

It would be led by Public Works and would represent all infrastructural delivery agents, including national state-owned enterprises.

Cronjé said job creation was at the heart of the infrastructure drive and projects were intended to stimulate the economy and job creation over the short and long terms.

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