There is no direct correlation between capital expenditure on roads and the amount set aside for maintenance and rehabilitation, says South African Local Government Asso-ciation roads andÂ transportÂ plan-ning specialistÂ Sibulele Dyodo.
This results in some roads being built without adequate funds designated for routine maintenance and rehabilitation of the asset.
There are also different municipal infrastructure grants for impoverished urban and rural areas, leading to instances where urban roads do not receive sufficient maintenance funding andÂ rural infrastructureÂ does not receive adequate targeted funding to address infrastructure backlogs.
There is a need to consolidate all existing road funding streams into a single municipal roads infrastructure grant, combiningÂ road infrastructureÂ provision, maintenance and rehabilitation, emphasises Dyodo.
Under the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) allocation formula, roads receive 17.3%, a similar allocation to that of sports, to which 15% is allocated. Funding streams for municipal roads inÂ South AfricaÂ are also divided between infrastructure and maintenance.
â€œRoads cannot be allocated 17.3% of the MIG allocation while water and sanitation together receive 54%. Funding streams forÂ road infrastructureÂ provision are also granted separately from road maintenance and rehabilitation,â€ he says.
â€œThe current review process must advocate for MIGs to be used for road maintenance, as the current grant structure does not provide for this, and a review must also address the percentage of MIGs allocated to roads.â€
Further, in metropolitan municipalities,Â road infrastructureÂ for the poor is provided through the Urban Settlement Development Grant (USDG) as an integrated source of infrastructure funding to upgrade urban informal settlements.
â€œHowever, there is no provision in the USDG to address infrastructure backlogs in townships. There are many roads in townships that need attention. The grant framework conditions of the USDG also need to be amended to address urban backlogs.â€
The Municipal Water Infrastructure Grant, beside others, aims to address backlogs in the provision of water and sanitation infrastructure at clinics and schools.
The proposed conditional grant access should be created so that funds can be transferred to municipalities for specificÂ projectsÂ that will provide access to water for households, he says.
â€œThere is a need for a special conditional roads grant access for urban and rural municipalities to addressÂ road infrastructureÂ backlogs, similar to the conditional grant access of other services,â€ emphasises Dyodo.
â€œEven though it is at the discretion of municipalities to allocate local government equitable share (LGES) funds in their budgets, it is concerning that roads and stormwater are not part of the basic-services component; they should be part of the basic-service component of the LGES, and roads practitioners need to advocate this inclusion to National Treasury.â€
A single municipal roads infrastructure grant will help provideÂ road infrastructure, maintenance and rehabilitation,â€ concludes Dyodo.