Roads in sorry state

2019-08-21 06:02
Matthew TownshendPhoto: Supplied

Matthew TownshendPhoto: Supplied

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South Africa’s road maintenance backlog for both paved and gravel roads is presently at 77,5%.

The alarming state of South African roads came to light in a presentation by Prof. Don Ross and Matthew Townshend of the University of Cape Town at the 38th annual Southern African Transport Conference held in Pretoria on 11 July. The theme of this year’s conference was “Disruptive Transport Technologies – Is South and Southern Africa ready?”

According to Townshend, the current poor condition of roads indicates the country is far from achieving its goal of improved road infrastructure. He said the situation translates into a R243,7 billion functional maintenance backlog and a R281,2 billion technical needs maintenance backlog.

The research paper presented suggests that R115 billion is required to upgrade high volume gravel roads in South Africa. It adds that upgrading all gravel roads would cost the government about R1,7 trillion.

Townshend’s indication is that the functional backlog for paved roads is approximately R61,2 billion, and the technical maintenance backlog R135,4 billion.

“The total technical maintenance backlog in South Africa for paved and gravel roads currently stands at around R416,6 billion,” he said.

According to Townshend, it would take up the entire new economic stimulus plan presented by Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa to try and cover these maintenance backlogs in a five-year period.

“Alternatively, it would require a 4% rise in the VAT rate, or an extra R3 per litre to be added to the national fuel levy,” he said.

Townshend said the provincial road maintenance backlog was at R150,7 billion.

“It is six times the annual provincial expenditure, while the municipal road maintenance backlog at R242,9 billion is eight times the annual municipal expenditure.

“About 11% of the national road network is in poor or very poor condition. There is a low road maintenance backlog within the metro municipalities, with a high backlog within provincial networks. A very high degree of prioritisation is required by the government for road network maintenance.”


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