R26.2m purchase of graders for gravel roads not welcomed by all

Villagers do not support the decision by North West government to buy road graders. They want a tarred road. / Tiro Ramatlhatse
Villagers do not support the decision by North West government to buy road graders. They want a tarred road. / Tiro Ramatlhatse

The North West department of public works has spent R26.2- million buying road construction vehicles to maintain rural gravel roads in the province.

The department said grading the roads was cheaper than tarring them.

This move, according to the department, would also help to deal with the backlog of bad gravel roads which, in certain areas, have led to protests.

But the move has not gone down well with residents of Khunwana near Zeerust who protested last year demanding tarred roads in the area.

Maria Tawana of Setlopo village said the graders would not help their situation.

"We are complaining about the dust, how is this going to help us? Our children often get sick because of this dust," she said.

Another resident, Kitsiso Sesedi, also complained about the dust in her house.

"Here you clean a house and two minutes [later] it is dirty again. We really need a proper road, not gravel anymore."

Though R26.2-million would not be enough to build 10km of a low-traffic rural road, another resident Olebogeng Mokgatlhe said the money for graders could have been used to build a road through his village.

"Where do they get the money for Caterpillars [graders] if they do not have money for a tarred road? I am sure the money [R26.2-million] could have made a few kilometres of the tarred road," he said.

Head of department at the department of public works and roads Pakiso Mothupi refused to comment on the purchase of the graders.

"I can't say anything now; wait for the launch so that my principal [the MEC] can answer to your questions," Mothupi said.

However department spokesman Matshube Mfoloe confirmed the purchase of eight graders for R26.2-million.

Mfoloe said the heavy-duty construction plants would alleviate the challenge of maintaining gravel roads.

"The delivery of the plant will also save the money from hiring the machinery for balding gravel roads," he said.

MEC Mmule Maluleka was meant to unveil the vehicles yesterday but the function was cancelled at the last minute.

 

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