Worst Roads Tour: North West Roads Reveal Little Progress Under Democracy

The start of ActionSA’s Worst Roads Tour appropriately began in the North West Province with inspections of roads on the north eastern side of the province.

The province has nearly 20 000km of road network and yet less than 6000km is tarred. That which is tarred has degraded due to a combination of factors, including insufficient road maintenance and the overuse of heavy vehicles arising from the collapse of the rail network.

Our visit inspected the old Soutpan Road between Dikube and Morotele which had been built in 2002 and received no maintenance. The degradation of the road surface has gone down to the level of the base layer which will now require total road reconstruction.

Further through the programme ActionSA inspected a stretch of road leading to Ga-Habedi that had been graded and gravel laid in 2009. Community members showed ActionSA that in every election since 2009 road signs and stones are placed to deceive the community into believing it is about to be tarred, only to be removed again after the elections without any progress.

Of equal concern are the numerous roads in the province which reveal a failure of the North West Provincial Government to appoint contractors based on their ability to deliver. Numerous examples are evident of road works that were initiated, millions paid, and projects left incomplete.

While ActionSA will continue its roads tour into Limpopo this morning, it is evident that the challenges facing the roads backlog in the North West can be addressed. The fact that less than 30% of the North West road network is tarred at this point into our democracy is the true failure of this province. Any government that prioritised the road network and managed public funds appropriately would have much more to show.