Gauteng’s massive pothole backlog blamed on lockdown – and ‘general inefficiency’

Gauteng Transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo says an existing maintenance backlog and the Covid-19 lockdown are to blame for the poor state of the province’s roads.

In an interview with eNCA, Mamabolo said that the lockdown has meant that the much-needed work could not be performed on the maintenance of Gauteng’s road network.

He added that there was an issue of ‘general inefficiency’ prior to the lockdown period, which has since been exacerbated by the inability to perform maintenance work due to restrictions, and a period of heavy rains.

These issues have combined to create a major backlog in road maintenance which have led to ‘massive potholes’ across the province, the Transport MEC said.

Mamabolo said that his department is now working on a plan to address this backlog which will see an increase focus on the maintenance of roads over the weekends.

In a recent parliamentary Q&A, Transport minister Fikile Mbalula said that the funding required to sustain the South African road network through pothole repairs is estimated at R700 to R1,500/per square meter.

However, Mbalula said that completely removing potholes in the country would be an almost impossible task.

“It is difficult to eradicate potholes on the road network as the emergence of new potholes depends entirely on the extent and nature of rainfall in that month or year.

“It is important to note that the road maintenance funding allocated from the national fiscus is not sufficient to maintain the road network in the three spheres of government as there are competing needs to all sectors.”

Mbalula said that most of the country’s provincial road network has reached its design life of 25 years and were never designed for the current increased traffic volumes and traffic configuration.

“With that said, my department ensures that roads are properly maintained through the Provincial Road Maintenance Grant (PRMG).

“The PRMG is ringfenced for the maintenance of the Provincial Strategic Road Network including rehabilitation, strengthening of paved roads, re-gravelling, gravel road blading and blacktop patching.”

Mbalula said that the PRMG sets aside just over R12 billion per annum to all provinces.

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Gauteng’s massive pothole backlog blamed on lockdown – and ‘general inefficiency’