/ 18 April 2011

Road maintenance to create 70 000 jobs

The department of transport’s multi-billion rand road maintenance programme will create 70 000 jobs, transport minister said on Monday.

“S’hamba Sonke will create 70 000 jobs in the 2010/2011 financial year,” said minister Sibusiso Ndebele at Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli convention centre.

He was speaking during the launch of the S’hamba Sonke road maintenance programme, attended by thousands of contractors, public transport associations and transport MECs from different provinces.

Ndebele said the total cost of the programme would reach R22-billion by 2014.

“Our collective success starts this financial year with an amount of R6,4-billion, the R7,5-billion next financial year and R8,2-billion in 2014,” said Ndebele.

The funding would be ring-fenced for the maintenance of roads, Ndebele said.

KwaZulu-Natal would receive the biggest share and would be followed by the Eastern Cape.

“During the 2011/2012 financial year, KwaZulu-Natal will get R1,2-billion, Eastern Cape R1-billion, Mpumalanga R1-billion, Mpumalanga R1-billion, Limpopo R934-million,” Ndebele said.

Gauteng would get R566-million, Free State R447-million, Western Cape R411-million, Northern Cape R308-million and North West R50-million.

Ndebele said it was important to maintain roads because most of South Africa’s road network had long exceeded its design life.

He said the issue of road maintenance had successively been raised by his predecessors, saying that turning a blind eye to road maintenance would cost South Africa an arm and a leg.

South Africa’s roads comprised 750 000km, 593 000km of which was gravel network, managed by provinces, metropolitan councils and district municipalities.

Ndebele said 140 000km of the road network was not proclaimed, which resulted in roads being not properly maintained.

“Proclamation means that a specific authority of government takes ownership and by extension takes responsibility for the maintenance of that network,” said Ndebele. — Sapa