The cash-strapped King Sabata Dalindyebo (KSD) municipality needs about R1.1-billion to repair its decaying and pothole-riddled roads and streets in Mthatha.
This is despite President Jacob Zuma announcing an investment of around R5-billion as part of a KSD Presidential Intervention Programme to help resuscitate Mthatha’s ailing infrastructure in 2009.
In line with the programme, more than 280 “catalytic infrastructure projects” were identified in the city including the revamp of the failing electricity supply network, water and sanitation infrastructure, housing, health and roads.
According to a KSD presidential intervention revitalisation report compiled by project manager Monwabisi Mbana, the cumulative investment into KSD had risen to R7-billion thus far.
But it was projected that the total overhaul of the infrastructure would end up costing nearly R10-billion once completed.
Mbana’s report, compiled late last year, states that about R3.7-billion worth of projects had already been completed while projects to the tune of R2.8-billion were still ongoing.
However, the municipality still faced a challenge of trying to source funds for more “unfunded” projects worth R3-billion.
Among that figure was the issue of the dilapidated road networks which would need at least R1.1-billion to completely overhaul them.
“We made a specific assessment in 2009, wherein an engineer was brought in to conduct an assessment of each road and street including in our suburbs and townships around the central business district,” Mbana told the Daily Dispatch yesterday.
“We identified that almost 90% of our roads are beyond pothole patching. In fact, they are at a level where they need to be ripped up and resurfaced as most of them are more than 50 years old.”
He said they had met with the provincial cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Fikile Xasa’s office on the matter.
“We also submitted a report about two years ago to the national Department of Transport,” said Mbana.
The Dispatch previously reported on the construction of a ring road to connect the R61 from Vela to the N2 near Northcrest at a cost of R119000.
KSD municipal spokesman Sonwabo Mampoza meanwhile said mayor Dumani Zozo and his council were committed to revamping the infrastructure and ensuring the growth of the city.
“The mayor has mentioned on numerous occasions that our goal is to see KSD becoming a metro by 2021,” he said.
The local business community yesterday described the roads in the city as horrible.
OR Tambo District Chamber of Business president Vuyisile Ntlabati said as a result, trucks loaded with goods were being targeted in Mthatha, as they were forced to drive slowly due to the poor condition of the roads.
The bad state of the town’s roads affects its image and drives investors away, he said.
“We are hoping to partner with the municipality [on the issue of the roads] as there are people who have shown an interest in investing in this area.
“I think we can do a bit in that regard,” said Ntlabati. — firstname.lastname@example.org