It will cost the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) about R284-million a year to repair deteriorating roads, said JRA spokesperson advocate Thulani Makhubela on Tuesday. He cited potholes, trenches and traffic signals that are out of order as some areas of concern. “As an organisation that is service delivery driven, we have taken all the concerns raised and have ensured that our business plan addresses them adequately,” Makhubela told a media briefing.

He added that the agency wanted to implement rehabilitative measures on all the roads, but noted that it had budgetary constraints. “There are roads that will be given priority over others. This should not be interpreted to mean that some roads are going to be neglected.” Makhubela acknowledged that the JRA is aware of the frustration of both pedestrians and motorists alike regarding the trenches and potholes on the roads caused by the ageing infrastructure, the laying of optic cables and road upgrades.

He said that the infrastructure could only be sustainable if members of the public took ownership of it so as to put an end to vandalism. “There is vandalism of traffic signs, graffiti on road signs, theft of manhole covers. We are spending about R600 000 a year on manhole steel covers, excluding labour costs. Since we have replaced them with polymer concrete, it has been reduced,” said Makhubela. He conceded that in the recent past, the JRA has been receiving a lot of negative publicity, some related to the usual issues of service delivery but mostly on the state of governance within the organisation.

Among some of the allegations were ‘jobs for pals’, reserving jobs for African National Congress top brass relatives; employing unqualified people and paying them exorbitantly high salaries and tender irregularities. In relation to the tender irregularities allegation, when these surfaced, the JRA board engaged the services of independent forensic investigators to investigate them, produce a report with recommendations. The investigations were completed and the recommendations are being implemented.

“There was neither evidence of self-enrichment nor could collusion be established, disciplinary steps are nonetheless being instituted against the employees who have a case to answer to,” noted Makhubela. Regarding the other allegations, internal investigations were launched and no basis, in fact or law, could be established on these allegations, he said.

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter