The Department of Transport has this financial year set aside roughly R3-billion to upgrade the Limpopo and Mpumalanga sections of the R573 Moloto road.
Over the medium term, this road project will receive R4.3-billion.
Delivering his budget vote in Parliament on Friday, Transport Minister Dr Blade Nzimande said the project would create an estimated 12 500 jobs over the five-year duration of the project.
“Within the next twelve months, government will take the final decision regarding the planned rail component of this corridor,” he added.
Nzimande’s department has also set aside R1-billion over the 2018/19 and 2019/20 financial years for the rehabilitation and maintenance of coal haulage roads, in Mpumalanga.
In addition, R2.1-billion is provided in 2019/20 and 2020/21 for the construction of the N2 Wild Coast highway.
Government still appears reluctant to deal with the issue of Gauteng’s electronic toll (e-toll) roads, which experience a high level of nonpayment.
“As part of reviewing the Gauteng Freeway Improvement [Project] (GFIP), we will heighten our consultation with all involved government spheres and nongovernmental stakeholders,” said Nzimande.
“These consultations will form a critical path toward the discussion of the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) operating model, which includes a new toll roads policy.”
Nzimande indicated that, over the medium term, R1.7-billion will be set aside to compensate “for the reduced tariffs for GFIP”.
Commenting on the budget vote, the Democratic Alliance noted that “the e-toll issue alone has turned an otherwise efficient and effective State-owned entitiy into one that is suffering economically”.
“Sanral needs to start facing this issue head-on and listen to the people of Gauteng. The entire e-tolls scheme needs to either be scrapped or be funded differently so that the financial burden is not left with the already overstretched taxpayer. Now more than ever, the Minister must develop a new toll roads policy.
“Experience shows us that a great contributor to the negative public sentiment against the e-tolls project was a deeply lacking public participation process. Until the e-tolls project is scrapped we need to ensure that any future e-toll projects do not repeat these bad public participation processes.”