MEC: time to insource road repair

A sum of R100million has been used to purchase plant machinery to assist the Eastern Cape department of roads and transport in fixing the ailing roads infrastructure in-house.
Roads and transport MEC Weziwe Tikana said the fleet was delivered to several district offices last week.
The machinery includes tractor loader backhoes and crawler-mounted hydraulic excavators, as well as 12-ton drum vibrating rollers that are fitted with fully enclosed cabs.
Tikana said one of the challenges that was highlighted when she took over as roads MEC two months ago was lack of equipment for maintenance of the roads in the province.
“To address this challenge, the department has reprioritised funding to procure plant for districts to ensure that it carries out its mandate of routine road maintenance and increase in-house maintenance capacity,” she added.
Records show that the province’s roads networks is 90% gravel and only 10% is tarred.
Tikana said resurfacing the 90% gravel roads was not possible due to costs.
But “we want to ensure that we have good quality, accessible roads for our communities”.
“Our view is that we should build our internal capacity so that we strike a balance between outsourcing and in-sourcing services.”
The R100-million was used to procure 48 pieces of what is now dubbed the “Yellow Fleet”.
The announcement comes a few weeks after service delivery protests flared up in areas such as Komani, Keiskammahoek and Middledrift.
The Daily Dispatch reported two weeks ago that Raymond Mhlaba residents claimed the state promised to resurface the gravel road between Debe Nek and Double Drift in 2006 but that has not been done.
Provincial transport department spokeswoman Khuselwa Rantjie said the acquisition of the new plant machinery was part of the department’s strategy to reposition the Transport Infrastructure Branch.
“This is the beginning of the process and the idea is to ensure that we fully capacitate our existing in-house construction teams.
“We want to have fully functioning [with all the equipment] in-house teams that do not depend on external providers for plant hire,” added Tikana.
Districts that will benefit include OR Tambo, Chris Hani, Amathole, Sarah Baartman, Nelson Mandela Metro, Joe Gqabi and Alfred Nzo.
“A set of machinery will be available in each district, but the model to be used will allow for the loaning of equipment from one district to the other depending on the pressing needs of each district,” added Tikana...

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