Revitalising road networks

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

By Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport Ismail Vadi

A critical goal of the National Development Plan is to improve the country’s infrastructure, such as roads and public transport, to boost economic growth and to drive employment.

To achieve this, the different spheres of government have embarked on a plan to revitalise our road network and develop world-class road infrastructure.    

South Africa has 750 000km of roads which are crucial for economic growth and social development. The majority of these roads are funded by government, with only 3 120 km being paid for through toll fees.

As part of invigorating our road infrastructure, national government recently set aside R1.1 billion to upgrade the Moloto Road which spans across Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo. In future, this 160km stretch of road, which services more than 60 000 commuters a day, will ensure safer travel and better economic linkages for business.

Like our investment in the Moloto Road, we have also, through the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral), invested massively in the maintenance and improvement of our national freeways for safer and decongested travel.

Through the current budget of the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport, significant road maintenance and upgrading is under way, as is evident on the N12 freeway, the R511 near Diepsloot and the R82 alongside Walkerville.  

Likewise, the City of Johannesburg has just announced a R943 million budget to improve its road network, particularly the M1 and M2 highways.

We commend all stakeholders for the consultative and collaborative approach taken to help us address the needling issue of e-tolls and the funding of road infrastructure. Your suggestions have led to the announcement of the new dispensation on the Gauteng freeway improvement project.

Government has listened to the genuine concerns of the residents of our province. For us, this is a clear demonstration of our democracy at work and the relevance of public consultation and participation in finding solutions to difficult policy questions.

The new dispensation for the users of the freeway network is fair, affordable and sustainable.

It responds to the high cost and the negative impact of the e-tolls on the people of Gauteng. The new fee structure reduces the maximum tariffs across all categories of users by 50 per cent.

The concession further allows for 30 free gantry passes a year and extends the reduced tariffs to road users who have not registered for e-tolls.

Commuters using taxis and busses for daily travel are protected through the exemption of e-tolls for public transport operators with valid permits and licenses.

The new dispensation restores policy and legal certainty for both road users and various spheres of government. It also enables Sanral to continue meeting its vital infrastructure mandate, raise capital on the bond market, meet debt obligations and improve its credit rating.

We have to get back to the business of building a better province and country. This can best be achieved by making use of the new dispensation to our advantage. We therefore call on all South Africans to support us as we move our country forward.



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