MEC promises an end to potholes

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Polokwane - More than 60 roads with potholes roads in Limpopo are expected to be repaired by the end of this week.

Tabling her department's 2011/2012 budget in Lebowakgomo this week, Roads and Transport MEC Pinky Kekana said the projects were part of the department's drive to maintain roads and create jobs for the unemployed.

"The department will spend R60 million on more than 60 pothole projects in all districts. These projects will be completed at the end of this week," said Kekana.

Kekana said the department would spend an additional R200 million on 11 projects aimed at repairing potholes and routinely maintaining roads in the 2011/12 financial year.

"As the responsible authority on secondary and gravel roads, our role will steadily move away from the current practice of reactionary maintenance on repairing potholes to preventative maintenance so as to keep the roads in good condition so that potholes do not develop," she said.

She said it was common sense that preventative maintenance was way cheaper than reactive maintenance.

In preventative maintenance of roads, money is spent on pothole repairs instead of spending it on accidents that could have been prevented through good maintenance of roads.

"It is our collective view that when potholes do occur, they must be properly repaired," Kekana said. 

Kekana said the department would spend R452 million on 32 other preventative maintenance projects that have been identified in the province.

She said that an amount of R250 million had also been set aside for infrastructure improvement, including the construction of pedestrian bridges, walkways and an interchange in Botlokwa outside Polokwane.

She said after discussions with the South African National Roads Agency, the department would award the infrastructure contract in June 2011.

"The people of Botlokwa will finally say government has listened to us. We cannot shy away from acknowledging that on a daily basis pedestrians in particular were dicing and risking with their own lives having to cross a busy freeway," she said. 

"We can safely say that when the yellow machines start arriving, that will be the beginning of improved safety for the people of Botlokwa."

Kekana added that the department would complete two bridges that go over the Olifants River. The bridges include Mankele and a bridge between Maredi and Senyatho in the Sekhukhune area, both of which will cost R46 million and R47 million respectively.

"It is with great joy that the pain endured by the people of Mankele and others, of having to cross the Olifants River under very horrendous and risky conditions, is finally coming to an end," she said.

Kekana added that the bridge R24 million between Sibasa, Khalavha, Fondwe, Nzhelele and Musekwaspoort outside Thohoyandou was also near completion.