US$2-billion put aside to build, maintain roads in South Africa

US$2-billion put aside to build, maintain roads in South Africa

There is no secret that many South African roads, especially in townships and suburbs, are in a state of extreme deterioration, and when it rains existing potholes transform these roads into small lakes and rivers.

Frustrated motorists and the media who have been complaining about the bad state of roads in Africa’s biggest economy will finally be relieved to hear that the government has allocated R18 billion (about US$2 billion) to provinces and municipalities to help develop new roads, and maintain the existing ones.

This was announced last week by transport minister Ben Dikobe Martins.

These good news will be dearly welcomed at the municipalities, many of whom are cash-strapped and ruined by years financial mismanagement, lack of capacity and skills and ‘prostitution of politics’.

Nevertheless, Martins said effective co-ordination with provinces and municipalities will be a priority to ensure that his ministry was not only a conduit of funds to the other spheres of government, but it importantly leads to monitoring and evaluating the implementation of government programmes.

Other allocations for provincial and local government purposes announced by the minister include the Rural Roads Management System Grant, which has been given R52.2 million (about US$5-million).

However, some observers believe that these funds, if not stolen and mismanaged by state thieves, will help a lot in terms of building new roads and rehabilitating the deteriorating ones n rural areas – places that have been badly neglected by the government in the past 19 years.

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