Unemployed Gauteng residents are missing out on many job opportunities because the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport is failing to meet its Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) targets.
This information was revealed in the department’s third quarterly report for the 2022/2023 financial year. 90 women were supposed to be employed to work on construction projects, but only 22 were employed. For maintenance projects, a target of 500 was set but only 160 people were employed. 275 youth were to be employed as part of the preventative maintenance projects, but only 79 youth were employed and only 92 out of 275 women were employed as part of this programme.
This trend is worrying as the unemployment rate in the province is high. Currently, there are over 2.5 million unemployed residents in the province. Programmes such as the EPWP provide much-needed skills that will help our unemployed residents seek long-term employment.
This is vital if we want to bring down the unemployment rate in the province and also improve investor confidence.
In addition, the EPWP programme also assists in making sure that our roads are kept in tip-top condition. According to the department, the targets were not met because of delays in the finalisation of performance guarantees by RISFSCA Class 1 and 2 contractors. While the construction project’s target was not met because of court interdict for roads, encroachments on K69 and submissions of invalid performance guarantees.
Our residents are constantly being failed by the current government. The DA proposes that the MEC for Roads and Transport, Kedibone Diale, urgently put a plan in place to ensure that all EPWP targets are met on time. Our residents deserve to have a government in place that will make sure that job creation targets are achieved within the stipulated timelines.
It is extremely concerning that our roads are in an atrocious state while the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport has underspent by R1.3 billion during the 2020/21 financial year. Residents in the province are forced to spend thousands of rand on vehicle maintenance due to damage by potholes and the general lack of maintenance of roads.
According to the fourth quarterly report of the department, R512 million was underspent for the quarter, bringing the total amount of underspending to R1.3 billion for the previous financial year. Underspending occurred in various programmes and the department has used Covid-19 as a scapegoat. This is unacceptable as this underspending occurred during the fourth quarter while the country is operating as normal with the various Covid-19 protocols in place. This means that by now the department should have these measures in place to ensure that critical programmes do not grind to a halt.
For this quarter, the department has failed to meet its target to visually assess 4,571km of surface road. No gravelled roads were visually assessed, yet a target of 1,359km was set. Furthermore, only 50 out of 100 construction and NMT jobs were created through the implementation of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) created, while zero EPWP Rehabilitation Job Opportunities were created against a target of 20. The department says this was not created due to the cancellation of tender P73/1 and Covid-19 national lockdown regulations.
Covid-19 has had far reaching implications on our economy and any more delays in ensuring that programmes within this department that are not only meant to create jobs, but to also ensure that our roads are properly maintained will be detrimental to the province which is also the economic hub of the country. Our roads are littered with potholes, which have not been fixed by this department.
This department should have by the third and fourth quarter of the financial year, adapted their programmes to ensure that the budget is utilized properly. With underspending by such a large amount, the department is at risk of losing additional funding come the next financial year.
Where we govern in the Western Cape our roads are maintained on a regular basis and the allocated budget is spent where it is needed the most. A Democratic Alliance (DA) government will ensure that all the Covid-19 protocols are put in place, so that service delivery can continue uninterrupted.
The DA will continue to put pressure on the MEC for Roads and Transport, Jacob Mamabolo to ensure that the targets which were not met for this past financial year and which rolled over into the current financial year, are met. The only people who are on the losing end are the residents who are already cashed-strapped and cannot afford to spend the little they have on additional maintenance on vehicles or on increased public transport costs. It is unacceptable that our residents who are unemployed are not being given a fair opportunity to earn a living simply because government is unable to implement proper Covid-19 protocols.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is extremely disappointed to learn that the Department of Roads and Transport has once again not met its target for job creation during the fourth quarter of the 2019/2020 financial year.
This information was revealed in the department’s fourth quarterly report for the 2019/2020 financial year.
Under the sub-programme: Construction Job Creation, the following targets were not met:
- The programme achieved a total of eight construction jobs from a target of 75 for the fourth quarter;
- The programme achieved a total of seven construction jobs for youth from the target of 41 for the fourth quarter;
- The programme achieved a total of one construction job for women from the target of 41 for the fourth quarter; and
- The programme achieved a total of zero construction jobs for youth from the target of two for the fourth quarter.
Furthermore, the department failed to achieve its target of creating 75 construction and Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) jobs through the implementation of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).
In addition, the department also failed to meet the following job creation targets under the sub-programme of Maintenance:
- The programme achieved a total of 146 maintenance jobs from a target of 450 for the fourth quarter;
- The programme achieved a total of 66 maintenance jobs for youth from a target of 248 for the fourth quarter; and
- The programme achieved a total of 41 maintenance jobs for women from a target of 248 for the fourth quarter.
The programme achieved a total of zero maintenance jobs for People with Disabilities (PwD) from a target of nine for the fourth quarter.
The fact that this department is consistently failing to meet its job creation targets is concerning and is becoming a trend. During the second and third quarters the department also failed to meet its job creation targets. These programmes play an important role in providing job opportunities, particularly for our youth who are in desperate need of jobs.
The DA will be writing to the Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport, Jacob Mamabolo to ascertain what measures are being put in place to ensure that these job creation targets are met and where jobs are linked to tenders, what measures are been put in place to ensure that the department is able to find bidders that meet the criteria to avoid tenders being cancelled.
The R500 in Merafong
The massive sinkhole on the R500 in Merafong has still not been repaired despite assurances from Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC, Ismail Vadi, that the issue would be dealt with as a matter of urgency.
In July 2014, MEC Vadi indicated that this sinkhole would be repaired by September 2014.
To date, the sinkhole has not been attended to by the Department.
Alternate Route in Disrepair
As time goes by, the alternate route around the sinkhole has fallen in to disrepair due to the high volume of traffic and farming vehicles that make use of this route daily.
In reply to questions I posed to the MEC, it is clear that this issue will not be resolved any time soon.
Why so long MEC Vadi
MEC Vadi states that this issue will be resolved before the end of the current financial year – at an estimated cost of R8 million.
It is unacceptable that the department has dragged its heels on this issue – unnecessarily placing motorists in harm’s way.
I will write to the MEC and demand this issue be prioritised.
Ina Cilliers MPL
DA Constituency Head for Merafong
060 556 4344
The CEO for the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport (GDRAT), Mr Roland Swartz, has admitted to the Gauteng Legislature’s committee of inquiry in to taxi licensing that the department has had no capability to investigate or prosecute corrupt officials.
Swartz stated to me that his department had been unable to prosecute or convict any official in the Department’s Transport Operating License Administration Bodies (TOLABs) – the organ for controlling taxi routes and operating licenses – despite acknowledging that the TOLABs are rife with fraud and corruption.
He stated that recently a fraud and corruption unit had been established, but that it had yet to secure any convictions.
The department has relied purely on whistle-blowers to identify corrupt officials, but when individuals did report instances of corruption – at much risk to themselves, reported cases had not resulted in any prosecutions.
Swartz admitted that the systems his department has to rely on, which are run by the National Department of Transport, are woefully slow, inadequate and unable to effectively deal with the flow of applications in Gauteng.
The Auditor-General has often commented on the inadequacy of these systems.
Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi must engage with National Transport Minister, Dipuo Peters, to ensure that the systems are fully operational and responsive.
If left unchecked, corruption in this department will continue unabated.
Dr Neil Campbell MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport
082 387 2540
Reports by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) indicating that 366 761 heavy duty and public transport operators are on Gauteng’s roads with expired professional driving permits is an indictment on law enforcement in the province.
Drivers of heavy duty and public transport vehicles require these permits to prove their ability to operate these vehicles.
Gauteng is second only to KwaZulu-Natal when it comes to road fatalities and experiences an ever increasing number of road violations.
Despite laws being in place, it is clear that current law enforcement structures are failing.
As a result, and what is clear from the startling number of expired professional driving permits, is that compliance and regard for the law is at an all-time low.
The Gauteng Provincial Government needs to take decisive action.
What it must do is move the Gauteng Traffic Police force from the Department of Community Safety, and place it back under control of the Department of Roads and Transport.
The DA has for a long time raised this issue with Roads and Transport MEC, Ismail Vadi, and Community Safety MEC, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane.
We will continue to pressurise the MEC, as well as Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, to heed our calls in ensuring not only compliance – but also effective road law enforcement which ensures the safety of all road users.
Dr Neil Campbell MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport
082 387 2540