SA faces huge road repair bill

09 July 2014

Over 173 000 km of municipal roads across South Africa are in poor to very poor condition, MPs heard on Tuesday. Repairing them will cost about R149-billion, acting transport director-general Mawethu Vilana told Parliament’s transport portfolio committee.

“What we refer to as ‘backlog’ is in the categories poor and very poor. [This alone] requires about R149-billion,” he said.
Of the 173 089 km of roads in “poor to very poor condition”, 16 402 km are paved, and 156 687 km gravel. The cost of repairing them is R118-billion and R31-billion respectively.

Poor roads need “significant renewal or rehabilitation”, and very poor roads are those “in imminent danger of structural failure and requiring substantial renewal or upgrading”.

Of those roads in very good or good condition — about 40% — the majority were managed by the SA National Road Agency Limited (Sanral). Sanral now managed over 22 000 km of roads, 14% of which are tolled. The other 86% are funded through the public purse.

Vilana said “There is a sense that we won’t want to alter that balance,” he said, adding that to do so would “over-burden” road users.

However, government was looking to involve the private sector in tolling. “There is room for tolling of what we believe is key economic road infrastructure,” he said.

Read the latest issue

Latest Issue