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Gauteng potholes to stay - DA

Mar 11 2010 07:14

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Johannesburg - Maintenance on Gauteng roads will suffer as about R300m has been diverted from the province's road maintenance fund to pay for unexpected expenses, the Democratic Alliance said on Wednesday.

Neil Campbell, DA spokesperson on roads and traffic, said more than R300m had been diverted from Gauteng's road maintenance and construction programmes to fund expenditures to duplicate the offices of Roads and Transport and Infrastructure Development, which previously fell under the same department.

Funds had to be raised to duplicate the offices of the MECs with new heads of departments, chief financial officers and other positions.

"The full cost of this exercise has not yet been quantified although the MECs' offices cost R1m," said Campbell.

Money was also needed to make up the shortfall for subsidised bus services inherited from the North West Province, following the re-incorporation of the Khutsong area into Gauteng.

This, Campbell said, amounted to R32m over the whole year.

A further R151m was used to facilitate the Gauride operation which provided free transport to soccer fans during the Confederations Cup.

"This amounted to R10m in administration costs and R141m actually paid to taxi owners," said Campbell. "Further costs will be incurred for the World Cup."

He said the closure of the unsuccessful Impophoma Infrastructure cost the department extra, as well as R8.8m for additional salaries.

Cobie van Antwerpen, acting chief financial officer of the Gauteng department of roads and transport said the figure of R300m was not correct.

"The assertion that 'potholes in Gauteng will remain' is not necessarily true," said Van Antwerpen.

"What he [Campbell] fails to mention is what we said in terms of our plan to restructure our maintenance programme and the fact that we are going to finance them better than in the past."

Van Antwerpen said the department had sought an alternative funding approach in the form of public -private partnership.

"To this effect, we have secured a funding commitment to the tune of R5.5 billion towards road construction, rehabilitation and maintenance programme for the next five years."

Van Antwerpen said funding within the department was reprioritised to fund the two new departments from the existing budget.

He said most of the shift from infrastructure was for the Confederations Cup.

"The funding in respect of the Confederations Cup was mainly sourced from the Infrastructure branch. However, in respect of World Cup expenditure to be incurred, a special allocation was made to the department for the 2010/11 financial year," he said.

He said the R8.8m for additional salaries was not taken from the maintenance and infrastructure budget.

"In general, the adjustments made to the budget as tabled in legislature in June 2009 were to align the actual budgets of the units to what should be published," said Van Antwerpen.

- Sapa

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