SA needs R75 billion fund for roads

GOVERNMENT is proposing a R75 billion road maintenance fund to keep up with the country's road infrastructure needs.

GOVERNMENT is proposing a R75 billion road maintenance fund to keep up with the country's road infrastructure needs.

The fund is needed over the next five years for road infrastructure development, Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele said yesterday.

He said a road maintenance fund must be established as a "ring-fencing" mechanism to ensure that funds meant for road maintenance were not used for anything else.

Speaking at the road construction and maintenance summit in Johannesburg, Ndebele said roads to schools and hospitals in the poorest provinces were a major cause for concern.

He said the Eastern Cape was the worst hit.

"Currently 859 of the 5401 schools and hospitals in the Eastern Cape do not have road access," he said.

KwaZulu-Natal followed with 403 out of 5331 having no road infrastructure.

Limpopo tallied at 129 out of 4131 units, Ndebele said.

The effect of numerous heavy duty trucks transporting coal through Gert Sibande and Emalahleni districts in Mpumalanga made their condition worse, he said.

The ongoing rail workers' strike worsened the situation, with imported goods being off-loaded at ports in Maputo, Mozambique and then transported by road into South Africa.

He said a lack of dedicated funding for road maintenance and poor asset management were the major causes of bad road conditions.

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