Pretoria: The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) is set to take over some Limpopo roads, it said on Sunday.
The agency is set to take over a total 1628 km of the province’s roads.
The take over of particular roads is at the request of the province.
“The intervention in Limpopo is particularly vital because of its booming mining industry and its strategic agricultural sector which both need, over and above rail connections, an excellent road infrastructure,” Sanral communication head Vusi Mona said in a statement.
The agency was up for the job, adding that other provinces had similar requests in 2013.
The Eastern Cape and North West provinces had requested to have 2 113km and 1 42km respectively of their roads taken over by Sanral.
The national agency was asked to step in because of the lack of capacity at provincial level and the road maintenance capacity it has.
Although the agency can do the job there are funding constraints.
“Our network is increasing disproportionately to the funding. The length of the non-toll network grew by 27% in 2013 but the budget allocation grew only by 9%. This is where the participation of the private sector in infrastructure development becomes appreciable,” Mona said.
The national road network currently consists of 19 704km of which 84% are not tolled but are funded through an allocation from the central fiscus. The national budget last week allocated R24 billion over the medium term for the design, construction and maintenance of the roads Sanral controls.
Sanral’s network is projected to grow to almost 35 000km as more provinces transfer some of their roads to the agency once proper processes in this regard have been completed.
The budget allocation, noted Sanral, has not kept up proportionally with the added kilometres of roads. The length of the non-toll road network went up by 27% in 2012/13 but the budget allocation only grew by almost 9%.
“Because of the backlog in maintenance on the provincial roads, Sanral has to spend up to three times more to rehabilitate and do preventive maintenance work on these newly added roads.”
SOURCE: South African Official News