Defects on a road linking South Africa with Botswana were identified by North West public works officials more than two months ago – long before pictures showing the part of the recently resealed R16 million tarred road went viral on social media.
The peeling road (official name P68/1) links the Lehurutshe areas in the Zeerust-based Ramotshere Moiloa local municipality.
The affected road, according to the public works department, is an 8km stretch near Moshana village. The road leads to Swartkopfontein border post in Botswana and it is mostly used by trucks ferrying goods into the neighbouring, landlocked country.
“The contractor is still on site there doing rehabilitation and resealing. Roads users claim they have evidence of poor workmanship by the contractor which we are investigating,” departmental spokesperson, Matshube Mfoloe, said.
City Press has established that the department has tried to get the contractor, RoadMac Surfacing, to correct identified defects on the road. A September 4 letter to the company from the department states that a stretch of road which “spans approximately 8km is defective and requires some remedial work”.
According to the letter, it was agreed that the defects would be rectified by September 30 before the department would sign a certification of completion on the project.
More than two months later, concerned residents and motorists took to social media to share the pictures that show the road peeling, its thin layer of sticky concrete and tar can be torn off the graveled surface without too much effort.
City Press spoke to some people within the department who expressed their unhappiness on the state of this road and others.
“The contractor went back and did shoddy work once again because working on snags means they are using their own money. They will still try to cut corners but it seems things were only getting worse for them,” said one employee of the department.
“It is a good thing that the department picked it up during an assessment and ordered them back on site to do proper work. In other cases they pack up and go, leaving behind what looks like a perfect black, tarred road with fresh road markings that would, however, only last a few weeks or months,” another one said.
Meanwhile, the department said the Moshana stretch of the road was not the only one that needed work after contractors had completed the job.
“We have over this past weekend received complaints from road users and residents regarding alleged poor workmanship by contractors appointed by the department on the Road P63/1 from Hebron Village running from the border of Gauteng and North West to Letlhabile near Brits. The contractors are expected to do sectional rehabilitation and reseal approximately 14km,” Mfoloe said.
“There is also Road P34/6 from Jan Kempdorp to Christiana. Ironically this 10km road was officially opened for traffic by MEC for public works and roads Gaoage Molapisi on October 27 as one of the ‘Transport Month’ projects.”
Mfoloe said they were investigating all the allegations of shoddy workmanship on road infrastructure projects and officials will be sent to the affected sites for assessment. He said the contractor was busy fixing the peeling road near Moshana.
Attempts to get a comment from RoadMac Surfacing drew a blank. City Press called the company’s Gauteng offices and was promised to be called back which had not happened at the time of publishing the article.
Another call was made to the company’s Free State offices and City Press was once again referred back to the Gauteng office.
*Editor's note: In the above Facebook image, the photos were flagged as "altered" and was subsequently fact-checked by Dubawa and found to be a road in South Africa (near Moshana village) and not in Ghana as stated in viral social media posts.