Rural families hired to maintain roads

Zweli Mokgata

Zweli Mokgata

The Eastern Cape is racing against time to complete the construction of 200km of rural roads by March this year, but inefficiencies are threatening to slow the project down.

So determined is the province's department of roads and transport to keep its roads in good condition once they are built that it is enlisting the help of community members, and paying each family R400 to maintain the roads.

The department said it wanted to bring emerging and student contractors on board in an effort to boost local economies, and to have poor households maintaining small stretches of the roads.

Ncedo Kumbaca, Eastern Cape department of roads and transport spokesperson, said yesterday: "We will be providing the local communities with tools and allocating each of the families with a kilometre of road to maintain."

Each household will be paid R400 a month, and more than 800 families are expected to be employed.

The province kicked off its programme of rehabilitating inaccessible roads yesterday after a R100 million budget was allocated by the Provincial Treasury in November last year.

The purpose of the programme is to provide roads leading to schools, clinics, hospitals, tourism and destinations in rural areas.