‘Needless waste of money’

2017-07-28 14:00
Roadworks on Chief Albert Luthuli Road have residents and business owners calling it ‘a waste of money’.

Roadworks on Chief Albert Luthuli Road have residents and business owners calling it ‘a waste of money’. (Ian Carbutt)

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Locals have questioned the municipality’s priorities, calling the roadworks currently being undertaken in the city centre an “unnecessary waste of money”.

Portions of Alan Paton Drive, Chief Albert Luthuli Street and Langalibalele Street have been excavated in the past month for the refurbishment of the road surface.

This is allegedly costing Msunduzi municipality almost R80 million. The City did not provide any documentation regarding the contract, although The Witness has requested it.

Local residents and business owners are fuming, saying that the money spent there could have been used to upgrade other roads around Pietermaritzburg that “are in a far worse condition”.

One resident, Tyrone Ashby, said that the resurfacing of roads that are already in “perfect condition” is a waste of money­.

Ashby said that the municipality needs to give attention to roads that are in worse condition, or without tar at all, that need the upgrades urgently.

“Why was the money not used to upgrade electricity infrastructure? That is the most urgent need in the city at this moment. Again this is poor management from Msunduzi municipality,” Ashby said.

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said that the city centre roadworks form part of the municipality’s basic road maintenance that is “being undertaken in various parts of the city”.

She did not reveal the name of the contractor that is heading these roadworks but said that there were various contractors procured through the supply chain management processes.

When questioned on when the roadworks are expected to end, Mafumbatha said it is an ongoing process that was started “when the need arose”.

Ashby added that there was also a delay in completing the road markings since some of the renovations were completed.

“The road markings, especially on Alan Paton Drive, are causing havoc because in the space of three minutes I witnessed two vehicles driving on the wrong side of the road because there were no road markings.

“Is the municipality waiting for an accident that claims lives first before they do anything?” Ashby asked.

A motorist told The Witness that driving on the roads before the roadworks “was a breeze” and that since the excavation, vehicles have been damaged.

“These are some of the nicer roads in Maritzburg to drive on so I do not see how and why the municipality would want to dig them up.

“Now it feels like you have crashed your vehicle as the shoddy workmanship has left a huge crater in the road which your vehicle just nosedives into,” said the motorist.

At Mckay Drive in Ashburton, residents said they have been waiting for more than a year for their roadworks to be completed.

The road was stripped of tar in April last year and contractors have since “vanished”.

The busy road is very near the N3 off-ramp.

“I have now spent more than R12 000 on tyres and wear and tear on my two vehicles. We simply just cannot drive on this road and it is ridiculous,” said a resident there.

He said he has contacted the municipality on numerous occasions but has never been given a straightforward answer.

“I eventually managed to get hold of the company who was contracted and they said there were payment issues with the municipality that caused them to stop working,” he said.

Mafumbatha said she was unable to say when work on the road would resume.

“The process was halted due to some technicalities, which are being resolved. That’s all we can say at this stage.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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