Despite Gauteng’s provincial roads being in a terrible condition and motorists having to fork out extra money to repair their vehicles, the Department of Roads and Transport has once again underspent its budget for the 2021/2022 financial year.
R774 416 000 that was not spent by the department could have been used to fix our roads. This information was revealed in the department’s fourth quarterly report for the 2021/2022 financial year.
It is unacceptable that this department constantly underspends, yet there is a need to fix potholes and re-tar our road surfaces on provincial roads.
This is how this department could have spent the money:
• The strengthening of 258 kilometres of road. Strengthening refers to increasing the structural capacity of pavement through the recycling of existing layers or the addition of new granular layers or structural asphalt layers.
• The improvement of 43 kilometres of road. This would entail improving roads with unacceptable quality services through actions such as the addition of passing lanes, addition of paved shoulders, and improved intersections. Road improvement is often combined with the rehabilitation of pavement.
• Adding 19 kilometres of new road facilities. This would entail improving the capacity to accommodate traffic and expand the road network. Examples of new facilities include: greenfields/brownfields roads (construction of newly surfaced roads where previously no road existed), upgrades from single to dual carriageway, new bridges, and replacement of intersections with interchanges.
• Could have facilitated routine maintenance on 7,744 kilometres of road. This maintenance would have included cleaning drains and culverts, cutting vegetation, repainting road markings, repairing guard rails and signs, and patching and sealing cracks.
• Could have facilitated periodic maintenance of 258 kilometres of road. This would entail scheduled waterproofing of roads by application of surface seals and thin functional asphalt layers.
According to the department, this money was not spent because of delays in procurement, poor project management and litigation. These are internal administrative issues that could have been resolved.
This has a negative impact not only on our roads but also on our residents who use both private and public transport, as well as the transportation of goods and services into our provinces. This places a huge burden on residents who live below the breadline and struggle to afford basic groceries on a monthly basis.
I will be directly engaging with, and tabling questions to, the MEC for Transport, Jacob Mamabolo on this matter. Our residents deserve to live in a province where the roads are properly maintained on a regular basis.