Govt will bleed over E11bn for fixing terrible roads

By Phephile Motau

The upgrading and rehabilitating of the country’s public roads would cost taxpayers a whopping E11.6 billion, the Minister of Public Works and Transport has disclosed. This is according to detailed responses issued by Minister Ndlaluhlaza Ndwandwe to parliamentarians in response to a motion that was moved by Siphocosini MP Mduduzi Matsebula. 

On Monday the minister tabled his responses after MP Matsebula in a motuon seconded by Ndzingeni MP Lutfo Dlamini had called upon the minister to furnish the House within 30 days, with a clear schedule, realistic timelines, and budget estimates to be requested in the financial year 2022/23 National Budget. 

The parliamentarians recommended that there should be another loan Bill to fix the terrible state of the country’s roads.

These were upgrading or paving of Siphocosini – Motshane (D78), Lundzi – Sigangeni (D120), Mhlambanyatsi – Lundzi (D81), Good Shepherd – Tikhuba (D12), Pigg’s Peak – Bulembu (MR20), Pigg’s Peak – Bulandzeni road and Nsalitje – Maloma (MR21) roads; rehabilitation of the extremely damaged major roads like Mhlaleni – Nhlangano, Motshane – Matsamo Roads; re-gravelling or heavy blading of other gravel regional roads; and maintenance or blading of feeder roads.   

The budget for implementation of this programme was requested for the financial year 2022/23 and the response was negative due to financial constraints.

The Ministry said it had prioritised other listed roads for upgrading as and when funds become available. 

The report states that funds for all the roads had not been secured, except for D78, D12 and MR21. In respect of D78, the Ministry undertook the construction of 6.5km from Siphocosini to Sigangeni. 

The minister said in the current financial year, the Ministry shall construct another 6.5km from Motshane to Sigangeni. In respect of D12, the Ministry has undertaken the construction of 8.5km from Siteki Town Council to the Mafasitelo area. 

The Ministry shall carry out the construction of a further 7.1km from the Mafasitelo Area to the eNdlalane area in Maphungwane. In respect of MR21, the Ministry has constructed 6.5km from the Siphambanweni area to the Ka-Gamedze area. The Ministry shall upgrade a further 5.9km from the Ka-Gamedze area to Nsalitje Border Gate. 

This will cost about E2.2 billion.

The rest of the money which is E4.4 billion is needed for the rehabilitating of currently paved roads that now require rehabilitation or resealing. Rehabilitation in this instance means the re-construction of roads from the base layer. This will cover about 506km of presently paved roads.

The responses state that at the beginning of the financial year, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport set a programme of action to maintain several roads that now require maintenance interventions such as rehabilitation, and resealing.

Funds for rehabilitation of roads were not available in the FY2021/22. The ministry said it was only able to get support for the maintenance of roads. With those resources, the ministry undertook maintenance of MR1 (Motshane – Matsamo), MR3 (Ngwenya – Manzini), MR19 (Mbabane – Mhlambanyatsi), D12 (Siteki – Good Shepherd), MR9 (Mhlaleni – Salem), MR5 (Luve – Mafutseni) and MR3 (Mbhadlane – Simunye) roads. In addition to these roads, the ministry constructed and rehabilitated 21 low-level crossings countrywide and fixed several road failures.

The ministry stated that a further E1 224 000 000 would be needed for the rehabilitation of the extremely damaged major roads which are the Mhlaleni – Nhlangano, and Motshane – Matsamo roads.

“These two roads are indeed due for rehabilitation as they have outlived their pavement design lives. If we do not rehabilitate the roads, the same maintenance works that have been undertaken in the present financial year shall have to be done in the future years,” the ministry stated. 

The roads due for upgrade from gravel standard to bituminous surfaced roads:

1.Nhlangano – Sicunusa (MR13) road42.5kmE647 378 644
2.Pigg’s Peak – Bulembu (MR20) road20kmE300 000 000
3.Pigg’s Peak – Bulandzeni (MR2) road37kmE550 000 000
4.Siphofaneni – Nsoko (MR14) road79kmE948 000 000
5.Nsalitje – Maloma (MR21) road36kmE432 000 000
6.Hlathikhulu – Sithobela (MR25) road41kmE492 000 000
7.Hlathikhulu – Maloma (MR10) road48kmE576 000 000
8.Mhlosheni – Mbulungwane (MR12) road20kmE240 000 000
9.Lugaganeni – Luve (D29) road30kmE360 000 000
10.Siphocosini – Motshane (D78) road23.5kmE282 000 000
11.Mhlambanyatsi – Lundzi (D81) road24kmE288 000 000
Total401kmE5 115 378 644.

 Roads to be prioritised for upgrading as and when funds become available:

1.Pigg’s Peak – Bulembu (MR20) road20kmE300 000 000
2.Pigg’s Peak – Bulandzeni (MR2) road37kmE550 000 000
3.Nsalitje – Maloma (MR21) road36kmE432 000 000
4.Siphocosini – Motshane (D78) road23.5kmE282 000 000
5.Lundzi – Sigangeni (D120) road17kmE204 000 000
6.Mhlambanyatsi – Lundzi (D81) road24kmE288 000 000
7.Good Shepherd – Tikhuba (D12) road20kmE240 000 000
Total177.5kmE2 130 000 000

The roads requiring maintenance interventions such as rehabilitation, resealing: 

1.Motshane – Matsamo (MR1) road88kmE704 000 000
2.Motshane – Matsapha (MR3) road44kmE704 000 000
3.Mbabane – Sandlane (MR19) road80kmE640 000 000
4.Phondo – Bhunya (MR18) road32kmE256 000 000
5.Mafutseni – Mliba (MR5) road33kmE264 000 000
6.Mhlaleni – Hlathikhulu (MR9) road65kmE520 000 000
7.Salem – Sakeni (MR26) road13kmE104 000 000
8.Hhelehhele – Big Bend (MR8) road76kmE608 000 000
9.Mnyokane – Pigg’s Peak (MR32) road30kmE240 000 000
10.Maphiveni – Mananga (MR24) road24kmE192 000 000
11.Siteki – Good Shepherd (D12) road2kmE16 000 000
12.Nhlangano – Nhlangano Sun (MR11) road3kmE24 000 000
13.Langeni – Matsapha (D38) road16kmE128 000 000
Total506kmE4 400 000 000

40 roads prioritised

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport has prioritised 40 roads for re-gravelling.

The top 10 priority roads in each region were selected based upon the high traffic volumes as well as the extent of the damages on the roads when inspections were undertaken by the Ministry. 

The programme will be carried out using in-house maintenance teams as well as, hired pieces of plant. The programme will run until the end of the Financial Year.

The ministry said simultaneously to the regravelling programme mentioned above, the ministry would carry out minor maintenance works on other roads.  Budget for maintenance of feeder roads may not be adequate in the current financial year, hence the emphasis on the very minor maintenance works.

The ministry said it would also investigate modalities of identifying 150km –200km roads that would require upgrading to paved standard using chemical stabilisers.  

“The process of identifying the roads shall be completed before the end of August 2022,” the ministry said.  

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