Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Pretoria: In an effort to improve the state of provincial roads, government is rolling out a labour intensive road construction and maintenance programme.

The programme’s targets for physical works involves resealing, blacktop patching, including pothole repairs and maintenance of gravel roads.

“Amongst the outcomes we have committed to, is the maintenance of approximately 20 000 kilometres of roads in our secondary network by March 2024. These are Provincial roads that are in desperate need to be brought to an acceptable state of repair,” Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Monday.

He was addressing the launch of the S’Hamba Sonke Programme, where he unveiled the first project on road D2091, from Marapyane at Dr. JS Moroka Municipality, in the Nkangala District of Mpumalanga leading to the Limpopo border.

“This is a block paving road project, through which the Mpumalanga Province will share their best practice experiences to other provincial Road Authorities and to showcase how more jobs can be created using labour intensive methods,” the Minister said.

Over the medium term, the maintenance of provincial roads, largely funded through the provincial roads maintenance grant, is set to receive R37.5 billion over the Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) period.

“In order to maximise impact, decisively address the maintenance backlog in the secondary network and contribute to sustainable livelihoods through job creation initiatives, we conceptualised the S’Hamba Sonke Programme.

“An initiative that allows national and provincial spheres of government to work towards common road maintenance targets while augmenting funding through the Provincial Roads Maintenance Grant,” Mbalula said.

He said the S’Hamba Sonke Programme must deliver tangible outcomes to South Africans and serve as a contribution towards eradicating poverty and create jobs.

Through the programme, government seeks to distribute road construction and maintenance budgets to achieve the maximum impact for reducing the transaction costs of South African products on international markets.

In addition, government intends to adopt best practice road construction and road maintenance methodologies to create cost efficient and cost effective job, Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise (SMME) and co-operative opportunities.

Government will also ensure that the public good associated with new access and mobility is maximised by prioritising those transport corridors that will impact on sustainable social and economic upliftment and by coupling road construction and maintenance programmes with people centred road safety initiatives.

“Over time, potholes and road crashes on South Africa’s secondary road networks drive public perceptions that financial resources meant for transport infrastructure do not always reach their destination.

“This is reinforced by the reality that that South Africa has a pristine and well-maintained primary road network managed by South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) and a secondary road network, in dire straits and to a large degree, poor state of repair, managed by provinces.

“Our revamped programme means we will tighten collaboration and break down the artificial barriers created by a silo approach to service delivery.” the Minister said.