Company to contribute R550million for road repairs

Alfred Moselakgomo

Electricity utility, Eskom, has pledged R550million towards repairing the road network in Mpumalanga to ensure smooth transportation of coal from the area.

Eskom pledged the money during a conference in Secunda this week.

At the conference Premier Thabang Makwetla, and MEC for roads and transport, David Mabuza, engaged the private sector on the need to work on the damaged road network in the area.

The two-day conference was attended by Eskom and other key stakeholders such as mining houses and companies that are active in the mineral-rich areas of Mpumalanga.

Makwetla wanted to know the role the companies could play in ensuring the maintenance of the road network.

Makwetla said recent estimates indicated that between R3billion and R4billion would be needed within the next three to five years to upgrade the road network in the province.

Transport Minister Jeff Radebe, who also attended the conference, said the pace at which roads were being constructed, rehabilitated and maintained could not match the increasing demand by road users.

"This conference is a platform to interrogate and iron out some of the challenges brought about by our busy roads.

"We have to find solutions to the demands of our growing economy," said Radebe.

He said the challenge of road infrastructure deterioration and the resultant road safety factors, should be a point of concern for everybody.

Radebe said the situation should be dealt with decisively.

"We have to protect our road infrastructure.

"We have to improve road safety and ensure the seamless movement of cargo.

"This will also help us reduce the cost of doing business," said Radebe.

He said Mpumalanga particularly faced serious challenges in providing energy through the supply of coal to Eskom power stations from the coal mines in the province.