KZN on track with roads rehabilitation

Thursday, November 17, 2022

KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, says more than 80% of the roads allocated for rehabilitation under Operation Siyazenzela (meaning "We are doing it for ourselves") have been fixed. 

The operation is targeted at roads damaged during the April 2022 floods.

Briefing media on progress made in interventions to assist affected communities and families on Thursday, Dube-Ncube said the province suffered road infrastructure damage, as a result of the floods, amounting to R5.7 billion, which translates to 1 372 flood-damaged projects.

Short-term interventions included the use of internal teams to attend to road closures, tree clearance and blading.

“Vukayibambe Routine Road Maintenance (VRRM) teams were also used to clear debris on roads. Operation Siyazenzela is also being utilised to rehabilitate flood-damage gravel roads in towns and villages within the province,” Dube-Ncube said.

However, due to the extent of damage to the road network, the Premier said some projects were outsourced to fast-track implementation and service delivery.

“An amount totalling R2.9 billion was made available to attend to flood damage in all affected districts within the province. At least 730 projects were prioritised, based on the proximity to schools, clinics and hospitals.

“Several of these outsourced projects have been handed over. The department... is still at work at various locations within the province to restore and improve roads in an effective manner,” the Premier said, adding that the Department of Transport, in partnership with the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL), has managed to open strategic routes such as the R102 and M4 using temporary measures.

“The agreement between the two entities includes the development of a permanent solution, which is currently underway. Through an existing Memorandum of Agreement between the KZN Department of Transport and the National Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (NDPWI), the Welisisizwe Rural Bridges programme (Bailey bridges programme) will be implemented at 23 locations in the province to provide access in the current financial year,” Dube-Ncube said.

About R280m estimated for health facilities repairs

On the affected health facilities, the Premier said a total of 82 facilities were affected to varying degrees, ranging from limited roof leakages to extensive structural damages.

“The cost of repairs is estimated to be about R280 million. Seventy of these are being repaired and/or renovated through the Department of Public Works, whilst the remaining 12 are being repaired and/or renovated by the KZN Department of Health.

Health Facilities like Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital, Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital, uThongathi, Inanda C, Wentworth and Osindisweni [health centres] were provided with water tankers. However, most health services have been restored in all affected areas and health care facilities are fully operational,” she said.

Over 70 people still missing

Meanwhile, Dube-Ncube said 72 people are still missing and DNA services are being rendered, with the South African Police Service support.

She said eight DNA test have recently come back positive.

“We are aware that some families are seeking closure and may want to have their relatives declared or presumed dead. We will assist all the families seeking to take this route... taking into consideration all the sensitivities and emotional issues around such a step,” she said. –