Backlog on our road infrastructure maintenance still remain one of our biggest issues.
In the Eastern Cape alone, we have a maintenance backlog of R7,4 bn for surfaced roads and R7,7 bn for gravel roads.
The estimated backlog on municipal road infrastructure in the province is R12 bn for maintenance and R11,7 bn for capital backlogs.
These figures show that the situation in the Eastern Cape is untenable and it is the same in most other provinces. The problem with road infrastructure is that if it is not maintained, it has to be replaced at a much higher cost, which the economy cannot afford in the next three years.
My question to Minister Peters is, what must we report to the Eastern Cape where people are up in arms about the poor road infrastructure and maintenance, when there is a national budget cut of 35% for provincial roads?
In a reply to a parliamentary question at the end of April it was stated that there is a huge shortage of civil engineers, especially in the Eastern Cape and that the provincial department only has 2 unregistered civil engineers and 3 registered Professional Engineers.
Since April two professional engineers have left and now there is a mechanical engineer in charge of the department. This is not acceptable. Why can this department not attract suitably qualified professionals to the Eastern Cape?
Almost no road maintenance programmes were implemented in the Eastern Cape in the 2014/2015 financial year because the implementing agents such as the Independent Development Trust and the Coega Development Corporation failed to complete the tender processes by the end of November 2014.
Right now no tender has been approved for gravel road maintenance in the province. Can you imagine the roads after the recent rain of 160 mm? Where is the department and what are they doing?
Elza Van Lingen