Pretoria: South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) boss Nazir Alli says it is important for the country to keep investing in the upgrading and maintenance of its road infrastructure to pave the way for economic growth and development.
“… In future, we will be travelling on safe and well-upgraded roads… It is important for all of us as a nation to have a common vision. So, investing in infrastructure is important,” said Alli during the CSIR’s 4th biennial conference on the future of infrastructure in the country.
Alli said it was this vision that would ensure South Africans would in the future enjoy driving on well-developed highways, making it possible for them to safely and efficiently travel to their respective destinations.
SANRAL is a South African parastatal responsible for the management, maintenance and development of South Africa’s national road network.
President Jacob Zuma earlier this year announced a large-scale infrastructure development plan that will see important developments being made to build upon the country’s bulk infrastructure, including roads, rail and water services.
Government recently adopted the Infrastructure Plan that is expected to transform the economic landscape of the country and strengthen the delivery of basic services to the population.
Major investments will be made in South Africa’s road network to, amongst others, help the country unlock the economic potential of areas that are currently hard to access due to poor transport links.
Government has developed 18 Strategic Integrated Projects – to support economic development and address service delivery – with one of them being the development of the Durban- Free State-Gauteng industrial and logistics corridor. This will improve the flow of goods and services around the country, which will ultimately lead to more economical ways of doing business.
Alli said South Africans should look upon the investment that will be made by government into these massive road infrastructure projects as key to development across the country.
“In terms of our future projects, our drive will always be to maintain our road networks, as without maintenance, these assets will deteriorate. It would be a cost to our economy, as well as a cost to us individuals. Therefore, we will always maintain our road infrastructure so that it can meet the demands [of the economy],” he said.
In terms of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, Alli said the consultation process between government and interest groups — headed by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe — was still ongoing.
He said government was a major player in the economic development of the country.
“There is no country in the world where government is not involved in any developmental activities,” he noted.