Speech notes by DA MPL, Vicky Knoetze – ECPL portfolio committee for Roads and Public Works’ oversight visit to Mbizana

Honourable Speaker, Honourable Premier, Honourable Members and guests.

A few critical points must be highlighted with regards to the oversight visit in Mbizana and the current state of affairs.

It is of grave concern that there is still no dedicated District Roads Engineer, no Chief Quantity Surveyor and no permanent Mechanic in Alfred Nzo District.

Further to this, the road to Holy Cross Hospital is still not completed and is still damaged in many places. This is a road to a hospital that is supposed to enjoy priority according to the State of the Province Address and the Budget Speech, yet five years after the fact it is still not completely repaired.

The road to Zanokhanyo Primary School was also damaged in the 2010 floods. R 2, 388 million was spent on the road. It would however appear that it has not been properly maintained over the past five years.

Spending money on a road to rehabilitate it, and then not maintaining it is throwing money in the water.

Having said that Honourable Speaker, the Annual Performance Plan of the Department states that, the current level for funding of maintenance is only 31% of the minimum sustainable level and that there is under-funding of 69% of the roads industry.

There is a clear refusal to acknowledge that the need for funding to eliminate South Africa’s road maintenance backlog is the direct result of a decades-long failure by government to effectively invest in road maintenance. The R 4.3 million allocated for routine road maintenance projects for Mbizana and Ntabankulu is insufficient to address the backlog.

Honourable Speaker, emphasis must be placed on the maintenance and upgrading of the rural roads network. It cannot simply be identified in the State of the Province Address and the Budget Speech as a top priority without also making available the necessary funding to honour that commitment.

Thank you.