The IFP, as the Official Opposition in the KZN Legislature, says the focus for Transport Month this October must be about addressing the road infrastructure backlog.
Further, transport authorities must enforce traffic laws on a daily basis – not only during October – by deploying traffic police 24/7.
The Budget allocated to the KZN Department of Transport for the 2023/2024 Financial Year is R13 billion, a slight increase from R12.474 billion in 2022/2023.
It is therefore perplexing that many roads are in such a bad state and full of potholes – despite Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube’s announcement during the last SOPA that R2.5 billion would be allocated to fix potholes.
This year, the Department surrendered R200 million towards the provincial reprioritisation exercise. These funds were available for surrender due to current slow spending on various road rehabilitation projects related to the April 2022 floods, for which the Department had undertaken internal reprioritisation.
Many roads are in a bad state despite the Department being allocated R780 million to build roads that were flooded during 2019/20, and in 2022.
Again, last year, the same Department lost R47.691 million, which had to be reallocated to other provinces, as the Department also failed to spend its grant money.
The Department of Transport is known for starting projects and failing to complete them. Nothing has been said about road projects implemented by the Department of Transport in Ubuhlebezwe Local Municipality, which have been characterised by challenges and slow progress. This includes P73, P112, and P113, which have been under construction for some years but are not yet complete. Construction of road P73 in Hlokozi area started in 2010, but only 7.7 kilometres have been completed to date, instead of 22.7 kilometres. Road P112, known as Nomakhele, which is 14 kilometres long, was budgeted at R10.724 million, but now the budget has skyrocketed to R202.38 million. The project’s planned duration was six years.
We still have dilapidated bridges in uMzumbe that were affected by floods in 2008, which are Kokoloshe, Mhlabashane and Dabedabe; bad roads and bridges in uMsinga, which include Ingcuba Bridge in Ward 13; the R33 Main Road from Tugela Ferry Town to kwaKopi; and D1274 Road, which needs to be rehabilitated from gravel to tar.
Road safety begins with roads that are safe to travel on – therefore, we call on the Department of Transport to get their house in order and get these essential infrastructure projects back on track.
Mr Blessed Gwala MPL
IFP Chief Whip in the KZN Legislature
078 290 5842