DA proposes solution to improve deteriorating road infrastructure
25 November 2008STUART FARROW MP
DA SPOKESPERSON ON TRANSPORT
A Democratic Alliance (DA) government would prioritize the proper maintenance of the country's infrastructure, particularly road infrastructure which is the lifeblood of our economy. To achieve this, we would budget properly for the recruitment of critical skills such as engineers and project managers, and spend capital budgets adequately to ensure that we eradicate existing maintenance backlogs.
Given our vision, it is alarming that the quality of the country's roads has deteriorated substantially in the past ten years. According to a study released yesterday by the Automobile Association (AA) 60% of national or provincial roads are in poor or very poor condition, compared to about 22% in 1998.
The declining quality of our roads is a result of years of serious under-budgeting for road infrastructure by the ANC government. For example, the current backlog for the maintenance of the provincial road network is at R72 billion, yet provinces only budgeted R5 billion to eradicate the backlog for the 2008/09 financial year - leaving a shortfall of R67 billion.
These figures show that the ANC government has neglected the importance of quality roads towards the country's development. The AA states that ?vast portions of South Africa's road network are in danger of becoming so badly damaged that they will no longer be able to be repaired, and government will be forced to reconstruct them'. As a country that heavily relies on road transport for moving people and commodities to various destinations, South Africa needs properly-maintained roads for our economy to grow at the rate required to eradicate poverty.
The DA proposes the establishment of a Dedicated Road Infrastructure Fund to be used solely for the maintenance and construction of our roads. These funds must be transferred to provinces in a ring-fenced form to eradicate the current backlog and make further investment towards building new roads to increase the road network.