DA welcomes Ndebele's announcement on Road Maintenance Fund
The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the announcement by the Minister of Transport, S'bu Ndebele in his Budget Vote speech yesterday that he has approached the National Treasury with the view of opening discussions for the establishment a dedicated Road Maintenance Fund for purposes of tackling South Africa's road maintenance backlog, now estimated to be R75-billion at national and provincial level.
The DA has in the last ten years repeatedly called for the establishment of this fund and it is refreshing to see that the ANC government appears to at last be taking the correct action to address this serious infrastructure backlog as evidenced by the innumerable potholes littering South African roads. Poor roads affect everyone and for years the ANC government has neglected this critical component of our economic infrastructure; hopefully, by acting soon and decisively it can turn the situation around.
The DA's policy reads:
South Africa's road network is deteriorating because of inadequate funding and rising costs of construction and maintenance. The state has increasingly relied on private concessions to deal with this backlog, thus pricing road usage beyond what many can afford. The DA will:
- Establish a dedicated Road Maintenance Fund, sourced primarily from the fuel levy, which will enable South Africa to eliminate the R120bn maintenance backlog over six years.
- Ensure that if toll road concessions are to be considered, a percentage of their profits must go towards community development or a pool for subsidising rural transport.
In his speech in Parliament, the Minister said: "We are working with Treasury to consider various options; including a dedicated Road Infrastructure Maintenance Fund to deal with the road maintenance backlog and challenges at provincial and local level...We are looking at a ring-fenced mechanism which will set aside dedicated funds for road maintenance."