Gauteng motorists continue to use roads that are in terrible condition, with one of these being the R101 provincial road, despite the Department of Roads and Transport setting a budget aside to maintain our roads.
The department’s second quarterly report for the 2022/2023 financial year indicates that 32 000 square metres were supposed to be patched, but only 14 515,45 square metres of surfaced road blacktop was patched.
The department claims that the remaining square metres could not be completed because of delays in the procurement of outsourced road maintenance companies.
This is very worrying as it means that the motor vehicle accident rate in the province is at risk of increasing.
In addition, motorists will have to fork out more money for insurance if their vehicle is damaged frequently because of the poor conditions of our roads.
It is high time that this department gets its ducks in a row and ascertains exactly why there were delays in the procurement of outsourced road maintenance companies.
It is unacceptable that a province that is the hub of the economy and frequently used as a thoroughfare for the transportation of goods to other parts of the country is unable to ensure that our roads are properly maintained regularly.
By not spending the budget set aside for the maintenance of the provincial roads, there is a risk that this budget will be cut. This means the department will still have to maintain the same number of roads with less money.
A DA government in Gauteng would ensure that the procurement of outsourced road maintenance companies is done timeously so that there are no delays in resurfacing and patching roads. Furthermore, we will embark on an awareness campaign for these companies to ensure that they are informed about the requirements needed to do business with the government.
e-Tolls are here to stay if the National Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, is to be believed. Mbalula recently used the argument that tolling is required to maintain roads and has back-tracked on his original position that e-Tolls must be scrapped.
At the same time, Mbalula is throwing Gauteng Premier David Makhura under the proverbial bus who made a very definite promise that e-Tolls will be scrapped. Makhura yet again broke a promise to the people of Gauteng.
The economic impact of e-Tolls of Gauteng is dire. It increases transport costs, particularly for the poor, who need to access job opportunities. It also has an inflationary impact that contributes to the rising prices of consumer goods like food. e-Tolling is a drag on the Gauteng economy and must be scrapped if we have any hope of growing a Covid-19 depressed economy that creates jobs.
Mbalula’s utterances has confirmed what the DA has been maintaining all along, that the National Cabinet is not in support of scrapping e-Tolls as the government can no longer afford it. Between Covid-19 and massive corruption, the fiscus cannot afford to take over the loans used to upgrade roads and install the e-Toll system.
There is no way Makhura can promise himself and his ANC government out of e-Tolls ahead of the 2021 local government elections, as he did in 2014, 2016 and ahead of the 2019 national elections.
It is time for Gauteng residents to vote with their highest protest in these elections and send a clear message to the ANC and Makhura that their time in government is done and that they need to start packing their bags. Their promises are no longer credible.
A DA government will push even harder to get rid of e-Tolls including declaring a formal dispute with the national government to get rid of this economy-crushing system. A step Makhura refused to use.
Whether in government or in opposition, the DA will not rest until e-Tolls are gone, just as we drove the issue of state capture for 13 years, so will we continue with opposing e-Tolls.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has launched a tip-off line, where people can anonymously report any incidents of bribery from the Department of Roads and Transport.
The DA is calling on anyone in Gauteng who has been asked for a bribe for a driver’s licence, driver’s licence renewal or roadworthiness certificate to share their stories on the tip-off line.
This new tip-off line will help to fight bribery and corruption where it exists in the department.
There have been numerous allegations of corruption within the department of roads and transport.
Corruption in this department is serious as it means that those who pay bribes to officials are a danger on our roads if the proper process of obtaining a driver’s licence and roadworthiness certificate is not followed.
This new tip off line forms part of the DA’s commitment to fight corruption within government departments.
The only way to root out corruption is if residents name and shame officials implicated in corruption.
The DA is urging anyone with information to send an e-mail to tipoffGP@da.org.za., with the date, time, place, description of what happened and the name of the official involved.
The DA only supports the amendment of the bill insofar that it allows the Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) to undertake rail infrastructure projects and managing rail operations as well as associated public transport services like feeder systems.
However, the DA cannot support the amendment bill in its current form as it potentially affords the GMA wide ranging powers in terms of public transport in the province which could lead to a conflict with the yet be established Gauteng Transport Authority.
Of specific concern is the statement contained in the Memorandum on the Objects of the Amendment Bill which stated that: “the Agency may then also be able to even facilitate the establishment of the Transport Authority”. This in our view is a potential conflict of interest.
We cannot allow for a situation where a transport operator can assist in establishing the exact Agency that must regulate it. This will cause inherent bias that could discriminate against competing transport operators.
The DA believes the GMA has the potential to become a provincial rail operating authority and would welcome amendments to the Act that could bring this about.
It is important that the GMA remains focused on its core business and steers away from getting involved in planning and managing public transport in the province.
The Department of Roads and Transport possesses this capability already and delegating these responsibilities to the GMA would be a duplication of duties and a further wastage of taxpayer’s money.
There is no doubt that the expertise contained within GMA can make a major contribution to integrated transport planning in the province but this should not become its main focus.
The DA in Gauteng is delighted to announce that through our sustained pressure, the Department of Roads and Transport will finally install traffic lights at the intersection of the Golden Highway and Easton Road, Evaton.
This notorious intersection has seen a host of incidents over the years, and the DA has been instrumental in raising this issue on various government platforms since 2011.
In September last year Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi announced that engineers were sent on a site visit, and that measures would be taken to ensure the safety of pedestrians and motorists at this intersection.
While the DA welcomed this intervention, we continued to pressure the MEC to for a more permanent solution and to assess the need for traffic lights and traffic calming measures.
The assessment was carried out and the process to install the traffic lights will commence at the end of September.
While this decision will at last bring a degree of safety to this dangerous intersection, the DA is mindful of the fact that our work here is not done – and we will keep this intersection on our watch-list to continue to ensure the safety of all motorists and pedestrians who cross it as they go about their daily business.
Kingsol Chabalala MPL
DA Gauteng Evaton Constituency Head
Despite numerous requests by the DA and the Bonaero community to the Department of Roads and Transport, street lights at the Atlas road/R21 off-ramp have still not been repaired.
The delayed repairs of street lights along Atlas Road and other roads including Bonaero Drive, Elgin Street and Great North Road, has resulted in these roads becoming hot-spots for hijackers.
Furthermore the Gauteng Legislature’s Roads and Transport Committee recently submitted an urgent request to the department to finalise the road maintenance agreement, which calls for all provincial roads, including those surrounding Atlas Road, to be repaired.
Every day motorists live in fear of hijackings as they drive along these roads, and government needs to act if it wants to live up to its promises of creating a safe and prosperous global city region.
To this end, the DA has submitted further written questions to roads MEC Ismail Vadi, to follow up on the finalization of the maintenance agreement, as well as requesting a breakdown of the roads maintenance budget allocation.
The DA will also present the MEC with a petition signed by residents of Bonaero Park community calling for the MEC’s urgent intervention.
Graham Gersbach MPL
DA Constituency Head – Bronberg
060 556 4346