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Potholes serve as tangible proof of country’s decline (Debate in Parliament: The negative impact of heavy vehicle transport)

The potholes in our country's roads, which serve as tangible proof of the general decline in service delivery, can largely be attributed to the damage caused by heavy vehicles and overloaded trucks.

Not a day passes without a family mourning the loss of a loved one who died in a motor vehicle accident caused by unsafe roads.

Like elsewhere in the country, some roads in the Northern Cape leave one stunned. There one can witness first-hand how trucks transporting ore have completely destroyed the road. There are potholes of up to two meters wide and deep enough to make a wheelbarrow disappear.

In the vicinity of Loerie and Patensie in the Eastern Cape, from where citrus and vegetable farmers fill Nelson Mandela Bay Metro's food basket, the situation is equally dire.

It is lamentable that farmers, who are already under immense pressure in all respects, must fend for themselves when it comes to repairing the damage to their vehicles and trucks.

All while agriculture does so much for job creation in the country.

As in the Northern Cape, where heavy vehicles are destroying the roads, one is shocked to find no weigh bridges. Without proper policing, it is a given that trucks will be overloaded.

Equally shocking is the fact that the authorities on all levels of government apparently see no need for doing any maintenance, and only want to act once a road has been completely destroyed and needs to be rebuilt from scratch.

The municipalities in the Eastern Cape are not even able to supply tar to private individuals to repair potholes.

They are, however, allocated funds to maintain roads. These funds are squandered elsewhere.

Government has recently started talking about the importance of moving back to railway transport.

But that is wishful thinking, seeing as the railway transport system is more dilapidated than the roads. Railway infrastructure is vandalised and looted on a large scale even though billions are spent on security each year.

Government recently launched Operation Vala Zonke to repair potholes across the country. It is like putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound, but it is probably better than nothing.

The FF Plus will still, in the interest of everyone in South Africa, monitor the project's progress.

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