The appalling state of roads in the Free State is frustrating residents, particularly farmers and business people.
However, budget constraints are hampering the efforts of the provincial government authorities to repair the rapidly deteriorating road network.
The R30 between Allanridge and Bothaville had to be closed following a rise in fatalities. This after more than 30 fatalities were recorded in the first quarter of 2022.
Persistent rains have worsened the situation.
In other parts of the province, residents have taken it upon themselves to fix pothole-riddled roads.
Some of them had this to say ahead of the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) later today.
“I don’t understand why we should pay for toll gates and all that kind of stuff if our road are like this. Our roads are worn out, we don’t have roads. Can they please help us,” says one resident.
Another resident says: “We are not happy all, there’s no services, we don’t have roads.”
Roads becoming death traps
Meanwhile, Economist Mgcinazwe Zwane believes that the province’s roads are becoming death traps.
Critical goods and commodities are delivered by roads.
The Free State connects the country’s six provinces and therefore contributes to increased traffic volumes.
Zwane says the situation is worrying.
“One cannot even start to depict how they look like, really it affects the economy in a way that one cannot even fathom. People are losing, so much effort for some individual communities to try to help the government to patch up some of the potholes but it cannot be right for the people to do that when the government is there.”
Free State Police, Roads and Transport Department says construction work on one of the major roads in Bloemfontein has resumed after delays due to litigation. Last year KET Civils, approached the High Court to challenge government’s decision to appoint new contractors while their dispute was yet to be resolved. It was alleged that government had authorised an advance payment of more than R180-million. The impasse remains an inconvenience for motorists, farmers and the business community.
Free State Roads MEC William Bulwane, “There’s a road that they are still working on between Jim Fouche and Oranjeville. That road it had to stop at a particular point because the previous contactor has taken the department to court but I’m happy to tell you that they have lost the case and the contractor appointed is on site, the project is at 35% now”.
Original Story by www.sabcnews.com