The Department of Transport (DoT) has finalised a project delivery support mechanism with the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) for provinces to tackle road capacity and other related challenges, Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said Tuesday.
In his Budget Vote address at the National Council of Provinces on Tuesday, the Minister stated that the department was establishing a project management unit through Sanral to provide support to provinces struggling with road maintenance.
“At the same time, we are repositioning Sanral to provide greater strategic support throughout the country,” he noted.
Ndebele said the aim was to call retired engineers back into service to work with new graduates to share expertise, so as to ensure the necessary capacity was available to roll out the road networks.
“Our roads programme must, as a matter of priority, address provincial economic development, urban mobility and rural access to achieve a balanced road network for our country,” he urged.
Last year, the DoT launched the S’hamba-Sonke road maintenance programme. The collective expenditure through S’hamba-Sonke for 2011/12 was R5.9-billion, against a target of R6.4-billion.
The Minister said the DoT’s budget for the financial year amounted to R39-billion, of which R17.3-billion was earmarked for roads and public transport programmes in provinces and municipalities.
The department has allocated R9.3-billion for the improvement of public transport; broken down into R4.9-billion for municipal public transport infrastructure and R4.3-billion for provincial public transport subsidies.
However, the Minister said transport authorities at provincial and municipal levels continued to experience challenges with insufficient funding, capacity and compromised technical standards in road construction.
“The challenge moving forward therefore is to continue focusing on mobilising the required resources for roads and public transport, strengthening technical capacity in all transport authorities and putting in place monitoring and evaluation systems to ensure that standards are adhered to without compromise,” Ndebele stated.
The main transport project to be funded through the fiscus would be the Passenger Rail Agency's much-anticipated R139-billion new rolling stock acquisition programme.