Sani Pass road awaiting okay for R602 mln budget

2013-04-20 00:00

THE Sani Pass road near Underberg is halfway to completion, and approval of the R602 million budget is awaited before the second phase can proceed across the border and into Lesotho.

This week a delegation from the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) visited Sisonke District Municipality and took the opportunity to assess the project to improve the pass.

Louis Nzimande, provincial whip of the NCOP, said the delegation was pleased that the first phase had been completed, but was concerned that it had taken so long.

He said the Department of Transport wanted to ensure that proper planning and budgeting was done to complete the second phase by 2015. The delegation wanted to ensure that the national Transport Department came to the rescue of its provincial counterpart in allocating the budget for the completion of the second phase.

The first phase involved construction of a 14 km stretch that started in 2006, at a cost of about R285 million, and was to have been completed in 2009. However, soil quarried in the vicinity of Sani Pass proved to be unsuitable for use as construction material, causing delays, said Nzimande.

Sisonke District Mayor Mluleki Ndobe said the first phase started in Underberg and stopped six kilometres from the border. He described the road as a strategic corridor and a popular tourist route.

He said the second phase, which would take the road up the pass and into Lesotho, was awaiting the completion of environmental impact assessments. This is due in 2014 and he said they were banking on the provincial Department of Transport to approve the budget this year for the the second phase.

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