Potholes to create jobs

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pretoria - Government is to launch a massive job creation drive through the S'hamba Sonke - Moving Together roads infrastructure upgrade and maintenance programme in Durban. 

Through the S'hamba Sonke (walking together) project, a massive pothole-patching programme, it will see locals being recruited to repair damaged secondary, district and municipal roads. 

The Department of Transport has set aside R22 billion over the next three years to plug potholes on South African roads.

The programme to be launched on Monday, 18 April, will create about 70 000 job opportunities across the country in the 2011/12 financial year. 

In partnership with all provinces, the S'hamba Sonke programme will improve access to schools, clinics and other social and economic opportunities by drastically upgrading the secondary roads network and fixing and repairing potholes throughout the country. 

An amount of R6.4 billion will be spent on this initiative across the country in 2011/12.

The Department of Transport's Sam Monareng says they have set aside R7.5 billion in 2012/13 and R8.2 billion for 2013/14, amounting to a total of R22.3bn in the medium term.

The project will be in line with the department's Zibambele initiative (which means "doing it ourselves"), which is routine road maintenance using labour-intensive methods in which a family or household is contracted through a provincial department to maintain a specific length of road on a part-time basis. 

The national rollout of the Zibambele initiative will form part of S'hamba Sonke.

Historically, Monareng said South Africa has invested mainly in the construction of roads without striking the balance between maintenance and construction, whilst the international benchmark is a 60/40 split between maintenance and construction.

"Through programmes such as S'hamba Sonke, South Africa will be able to match the international benchmark," he said.

A national potholes hotline will also be launched for road users to report potholes in any area around the country. 

According to Monareng, this will assist the programme to arrest the decline of infrastructure while creating thousands of much-needed jobs.

"Roads engineers and superintendents will be deployed all over the roads network with the responsibility to address potholes and infrastructure maintenance. 

"They will be charged with driving through stretches of road every morning in order to determine the daily condition of the roads network, thereby assisting with the early identification and repair of potholes," Monareng said. - BuaNews