ATC130308: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Transport on the Oversight visit to Kwazulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape in Relation to S’hamba Sonke, dated 19 February 2013




The Portfolio Committee on Transport, having undertaken an oversight visit to the KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape provinces from 24 to 27 January 2012, reports as follows:


The Portfolio Committee on Transport (the Committee), as mandated by the Constitution and Rules of Parliament, undertook an oversight visit to KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape from 24 to 27 January 2012 to assess the condition of access roads to schools and health facilities and to receive briefings from the provincial departments of transport on their implementation of S’hamba Sonke.

The oversight delegation consisted of the Committee Chairperson, Ms N R Bhengu (ANC), Ms D E Dlakude (ANC), Mr L Suka (ANC), Mr M de Freitas (DA) and Mr P Mbhele (Cope). The Committee was supported by Ms V Carelse (Committee Secretary), Mr S Ngesi (Committee Researcher) and Ms Z France (Committee Assistant). The Portfolio Committee on Transport of the Kwazulu-Natal Legislature and an official from the Department of Transport accompanied the Committee on the visit.

The municipalities identified for the visits were Umuziwabantu Local Municipality in Harding in Kwazulu-Natal and Ingquka Hill Local Municipality in Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape . Both municipalities were presidential poverty nodal points.

The Committee was of the opinion that its oversight visit to KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape had to be informed by the S’hamba Sonke objectives, the challenges identified and recommendations made in the Household Survey on Public Transport that was conducted by the Department of Transport in 2003 and the report of the Portfolio Committee on its study tour to China in 2010.


Historically, South Africa had invested mainly in the construction of roads without striking a healthy balance between maintenance and construction. The international benchmark was a 60/40 split between maintenance and construction. In South Africa , there had been no adherence to this norm, which resulted in the deterioration of the road infrastructure at provincial and local levels. Well-developed and maintained infrastructure was essential for a nation’s productivity and, ultimately, economic growth and job creation. It is against this backdrop that the Committee lobbied Government for dedicated investment that would deal with the maintenance of the country’s secondary road network.

The Committee’s unwavering commitment to this cause culminated in the launch of the S ’hamba Sonke programme by the Minister of Transport in April 2011. S ’hamba Sonke is an innovative, nation-wide maintenance programme of South Africa ’s secondary road infrastructure, using labour-intensive methods of construction and maintenance.

The principles and pillars of S’hamba Sonke were based on:

· increasing investment in the maintenance of key arterial routes to support the rural economy;

· increasing the focus on the cost-efficient use of labour absorptive methodologies in road construction and maintenance;

· maintaining a focused attention on the deployment of local resources to support road network asset management;

· improving access to schools and clinics and other public facilities; and

· delivering a safe road environment.

The programme also aimed to reduce the percentage of roads in poor to very poor condition from the current 30 per cent to 10 per cent.


The survey which was conducted by the Department of Transport in 2003 aimed to understand domestic travel behaviour and the needs of individuals and households in South Africa . Over 45 000 household interviews were held that covered all nine provinces and every metropolitan and district municipality. The survey indicated that there was a need for the Department of Transport to work towards an integrated transport network, with increased investment in public transport infrastructure, to restructure current subsidies in order to promote integrated settlements and to develop public transport projects that would improve access to opportunities for the urban and rural poor.

The objectives of the oversight visit, which were to assess access roads to schools and health facilities have to be engaged in the context of the S’hamba Sonke principles and the household travel survey.

The delegation focused on the challenges that were raised in the National Household Survey on Public Transport which included the following:

a) The high costs of travelling and transporting goods;

b) The long time taken in travelling a short distance;

c) The lack of integration of different modes of transport; and

d) Improved access to opportunities for the urban and rural poor.


During its study tour to China the Committee found that the Chinese transport situation

was similar to the one in South Africa in terms of challenges 30 years ago. The Committee identified that there were common social and economic conditions between South Africa and China . The rural areas of both countries were poorer than the urban areas from Beijing . The majority of the population in China and South Africa are poor commuters.

As part of its transformation agenda, the Chinese government positioned transport as an enabling tool for economic development. The transport infrastructural development in rural areas became central to the economic development strategies of China . China had invested in transport infrastructural development as an enabling tool for attracting investment to rural areas. A similar situation exist in South Africa where thirteen areas identified as Presidential Poverty Nodal Points have failed to attract meaningful economic investment partly due to poor transport infrastructure that would link these underdeveloped areas to developed cities.

In order to address their challenges, planning for transport development took place at

national level, as their 2020 transport master plan allowed for an integrated

transport plan. Investment in transport development was more informed by social

needs and not economic cost. China started by focusing on skills development and

partnered with developed countries where they learnt relevant skills for transport

development, which led to the establishment of a faculty at university level focussing

on transport studies. Thirty years ago, China had a shortage of science and

technology skills required to develop the transport industry. South Africa is faced with

that same challenge today.


The Committee engaged with the provincial departments on how their implementation

strategies focused on increasing access to schools and clinics.


The, Head of Department of the Kwazulu–Natal Provincial Department of Transport reported that t he maintenance activities undertaken on the provinces road network consisted of conservation of higher order roads through rehabilitation and reseals, regravelling, routine maintenance, safety maintenance and specific maintenance. The Department had implemented a 2-year pothole repair contract commencing in the 2011/12 financial year to address the backlog of pothole repairs. A database comprising 111 contractors ranging from Grade 1 to Grade 7 had been created in Empangeni, Ladysmith, Pietermaritzburg and Durban .

The Department was continually developing, upgrading and maintaining roads to support the communities of the province through its various programmes which support the S’hamba Sonke programme. These were the African Renaissance Road Upgrading Programme (ARRUP) and Operation Kushunquthuli which focused on the upgrading of community access roads to police stations, clinics, schools and areas with high potential for agriculture activities. The programme also focused on the building of pedestrian bridges.

The Department had over the past 10 years investigated various products to improve the all-weather surface of its roads. Various products had been tested, such as Road Bond, Roadamine, Soil Fix and Ecobond. Some of the roads that have been piloted using these products were P710, P218, P15, A1114 and D1599. The department was monitoring the success of these treatments to determine the best product for the different material types. In the Ugu district, 20 Vukuzakhe contractors, comprising Grade 1, 2 and 3 contractors, had been allocated to carry out pothole repairs. To date, approximately 20 contracts have been implemented in the 2011/12 financial year to an estimated value of R6 million.

In respect of scholar transport in the province, the Department took over the scholar transport function from the Department of Basic Education in September 2011. From September to December 2011, service was provided to 27 schools. Service providers had been appointed and the service commenced on 11 January 2012. The service would be monitored from February 2012 onwards.


The representative from the Ugu District Municipality presented the S’hamba Sonke business plan for the Hibiscus Local Municipality to the Committee. The business plan stated the strategy that the municipality would implement to provide continuous access road maintenance of municipal roads by 2013. The district would play a coordinating role. The template for the business plan would be the model for cooperative development. At the time of the presentation the district municipality still had to decide whether the business plan would be submitted as one plan with six subsections covering the local municipalities or as six separate business plans.


According to the submission from the municipality, the roads from ward 4 to ward 10 were in relative good condition and the Kwazulu–Natal Department of Transport was currently re-gravelling some of the roads. The badly affected and neglected road was D 926 in Ward 1 near the Kwa Fodo area. Umuziwabantu municipality upgraded the portion which was in an unusable state from its own budget. As a result of limited funds, only a portion could be constructed. It was a major challenge for local transport and emergency vehicles to get to communities in the area during the rainy season. The road to Indlovini in ward 1 and ward 2 was not accessible during wet conditions because the road had not been maintained for many years.

Low-level bridges were vital access points to communities as they provided a safe point for crossing rivers. Unfortunately, after heavy rains the river overflowed the bridge and rendered the bridge unusable. When this happened, vehicles were unable to cross the bridge and children were unable to attend school until the water levels had fallen . The municipality showed images to the Committee that illustrated the flooding of bridges, even during normal flow. The municipality felt that low-level bridges needed to be reviewed as most rivers were rising close to the level of the bridge.

The national roads were in good condition and routine maintenance was conducted. The municipality was, however, concerned that contractors had developed a tendency to use cement to close potholes, particularly on the provincial roads. The municipality had asked the Provincial Department to closely inspect these roads.

Gravel roads in the municipal areas were regularly maintained and Umuziwabantu municipality was assisting where the province could not. The roads that required immediate intervention were the Weza to Mzimkhulu (a Department of Transport pilot project) and the Bizana roads. The roads had been neglected by the province. The roads had deformed and their lifespan had elapsed, but they had not been re-surfaced. Potholes on these roads were fixed with concrete and because it was a rigid substance, the concrete stayed intact while the tar had deteriorated. The municipality regarded these roads unsafe for travel.

The Bizana road, which runs through the town of Harding , had dented the image of the town and was continuing to discourage businesses and potential investors from coming to the town. The municipality managed to construct a proper drainage system and was hoping to receive more funding to rehabilitate the road surface. Although this road was a provincial road, the municipality was forced to maintain it for the benefit of the local communities.

According to the municipality, there was a need to make use of alternative modes of transport to ease the pressure on the road network and increase its lifespan. The municipal area had railway infrastructure and an airstrip. The railway infrastructure which could be used for cargo and passenger transportation required rehabilitation.


During the submissions made at the meeting with the officials from the KwaZulu-

Natal Department of Transport, Ugu District municipality and the uMuziwabantu

local municipality, the Committee noted the following:

3.1 Roads

3.1.1 The Ugu District municipal area had railway infrastructure and a landing strip. There were railway infrastructure lines which could be used for cargo and passenger transportation. Despite this available infrastructure, the Committee noted that the uMuziwabantu Local Municipality did not have an integrated transport plan. Harding, which was close to Margate Airport , also had vast land that was used for forestry and gum trees, which indicated that the area was rich in water. An integrated development plan would release its economic potential. The Committee noted that the province’s road maintenance and infrastructure development were not coordinated with those of the Ugu District Municipality

3.1.2 The municipality had a low revenue base and its survival depended on grants. The municipality did not take full advantage of resources at its disposal to improve the socio-economic conditions of the inhabitants.

3.1.3 There was a decrease in the number of people visiting Harding due to the deterioration of the road linking Eastern Cape and Kwazulu-Natal . Such deterioration had impacted negatively on the local economy. The South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) had committed itself to upgrade the D911 road and the D912 road (Pisgah) in 2006 and the project was launched by the Minister of Transport and the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Transport in 2010. There had since been no progress in the execution of the project.

3.1.4 Kwazulu-Natal had a backlog in road infrastructure development due to limited funding.

3.1.5 The Committee also noted that the provincial Department of Transport was reluctant to implement the innovative method of repairing potholes that was already successfully applied by the Ugu District Municipality .

3.2 Scholar transport

According to the provincial Department of Transport, the scholar transport function had been transferred from the provincial Department of Education to the provincial Department of Transport. The current implementation of the scholar transport function was not informed by national policy.

3 .3 Observations made during site visit (Harding to Bizana road)

No progress had been made in repairing potholes on the road since the initial visit by the Committee in July 2011. During its site visit, the Committee discovered that the provincial Department contracted a service provider to repair potholes with cement on an asphalt road. The Committee had expressed the view previously that this practice was contrary to scientifically approved methods of road maintenance and was causing damage to roads. The Committee noted that the pothole ambulance that was fixing the potholes consisted of more than 10 officials. The Committee informed the Department that the Ugu method of pothole repair required only three workers at a time to fix potholes effectively.

The officials were instructed by the provincial Department to cease their work until the appropriate material was applied to repair potholes. The Committee questioned the norms and standards that were being applied to pothole repairs. The Committee remained concerned about the non-compliance with approved road maintenance standards.

The Committee attempted to conduct a site visit to Pisgah outside Harding to observe the D911 and D912 access roads,. The area had a clinic, a tribal authority and four schools. The access road to these facilities was unfortunately inaccessible due to rain that had fallen the previous night. The gravel road had no drainage system and flooded when it rained.


4.1 Roads

The Minister of Transport should ensure that:

4.1.1 There is synergy in transport planning across all spheres of government.

4.1.2 The funding model for road infrastructure is reviewed and that the formula for allocating funds is based on backlog rather than on population.

4.1.3 The old apartheid policy which stated that a road should be travelled by more than 200 motor vehicles to qualify for upgrading of roads from gravel to blacktop needs urgent review. The Committee agreed that uneven levels of infrastructural development in rural and urban areas were unacceptable as the Constitution prohibits discrimination based on geographical location.

4.1.4 The Committee found it unacceptable that cement was used to fix an asphalt road in Harding. These road maintenance methods caused further damage to roads and should be stopped. The Committee agreed that reputable science institutions’ assistance could be used to ensure that such practices did not continue.

4.1.5 That a follow-up visit be conducted to Ugu District Municipality for a demonstration on pothole repair with the use of cold asphalt.

4.1.6 Roads that provide access to schools and clinics and roads that connect communities to other communities are upgraded.

4.1.7 The Department of Transport appoints regional road inspectors who would regularly monitor the condition of roads.

4.1.8 There was a need for the revitalization of rail transport within Ugu District Municipality to cater for the growing agriculture and forestry industries.

4.1.9 In trying to ease pressure on the road networks, the strategy to revive branch lines is reviewed. This would also reduce the cost to transport goods and passengers.

4.2 Scholar transport

4.2.1 It was imperative for the Department of Transport to conclude the development of the national policy on scholar transport so that Kwazulu-Natal and other provinces will be guided by a national policy when implementing their scholar transport programmes.

4.2.2 The scholar transport plan that was presented to the Committee did not speak to strategy, basis, job creation and skills development. The enterprise development strategy should be linked to Black Economic Empowerment (BEE), the type of vehicle that would be used for scholar transport as well as driver training.



According to the MEC for Roads and Public Works, there was no dedicated funding for the S’hamba Sonke programme, but funding was made available from the Provincial Roads Maintenance Grant (PRMG). In most provinces grants were the dominant portion of roads funding.

The establishment of the Department of Roads and Public Works as the “provincial infrastructure nerve centre” would allow the provincial Department to liaise with the provincial Departments of Health and of Basic Education to monitor backlogs and plan for eradication. The roads and Expanded Public Works sub-programmes aimed to establish all-weather access to rural hospital projects, low-volume roads programme targeting gravel roads to key tourism, cultural and social facilities, inaccessible roads re-gravelling programme and the construction of access roads by utilising Expanded Public Works Programme methods.

The Eastern Cape Department of Roads and Public Works had constructed and improved access to 6 hospitals, 22 clinics and 55 schools in 2011/12. At end of the third quarter, expenditure was exactly on target at 75% of budget. It was expected that the roads programme would have spend 100% of its budget in the 2012/13 financial year. The challenges faced by the department were limited technical capacity and the ageing road network. Local municipalities had very limited capacity and funding to address access roads and bridge backlogs and maintenance.

The Provincial Department was in the process of signing service level agreements with local municipal areas. There was a huge accumulated backlog in relation to maintenance (R9 billion) and upgrades, bridges and access roads to social facilities. The backlog relating to roads was over 10 000 km and 150 bridges were required.

The department faced extreme budget limitations, climatic challenges due to high rainfall, steep slopes, poor natural gravel sources and frequent flood damage. The current flood damage bill amounted to R1 billion. Additional funding was promised from 2013/14 to allow for ‘quick ‘n cheap’ remedial holding action on large parts of the surfaced network in 2011/12. The department was working towards ensuring that the designs and documentation would be ready for significant upscaling in 2013. The department would also continue to build capacity in the local road construction industry to meet its 2013 target. It would apply for additional funding to meet specific challenges and identified needs.


The Committee met with the Municipal Manager and Councillors of Ingquza Hill municipality. The Committee visited the Boxer taxi rank the previous day and during the meeting with the municipal officials, expressed its dissatisfaction with the conditions at the taxi rank. The Municipal Manager mentioned that the municipality attempted to construct a new taxi rank in 2005, but it was facing a dispute about ownership of the proposed site. There was a process to register the hawkers and build hawkers stalls.

There was a challenge with sanitation and water at the taxi rank because the municipality did not own a garbage truck and garbage bins were regularly stolen. Sites had been identified for additional toilet facilities. The information was sent to OR Tambo District Municipality, but no assistance has yet been received. The congestion in town was because the town planning was based on the Transkei method of town planning, which provided for only one main road which was the business hub. Municipal bylaws were weak as the municipality was still following the Transkei local government ordinance 33 of 1934.


6.1 Visit to taxi rank

The Committee observed that the taxi rank was dirty and was not suitable for potential investment. Hawkers were selling their goods in the unhygienic environment. There was a general disregard for basic traffic rules and an absence of traffic officials to provide traffic control. The congestion at the taxi rank spilled over into the surrounding areas which hampered free movement and access by traffic and pedestrians in and around town.

There were not enough ablution facilities and water at the taxi rank. There seemed to a lack of service delivery. People were living in inhumane conditions. The current state of infrastructural challenges and noted in the municipal area would not attract investors.

6.2 Visit to Bambasani Hospital

The Committee noted that the road to Bambasani Hospital (DR08159) was tarred and generally accessible, but the road that lead from Mpopomeni Village, which was adjacent to the hospital, was inaccessible. This forced the community to use the longer R61 route to the hospital, sometimes at considerable additional cost to them. The Committee noted that the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral), through its Mpopomeni project, had built an all-weather footpath from the surrounding villages to the Hospital. This allowed for increased access to the Hospital from the villages.

6.3 Visit to Mgezwa Senior Secondary School: The road to the school was gravel and not conducive for daily commuting by a transport service provider due to the damage that could be caused to vehicles. In the absence of scholar transport, the stretch of gravel road was also too long for walking by scholars.

6.4 Visit to Holy Cross Hospital: Although the hospital was accessible via the tarred road (DR08023), the Committee noted challenges faced by communities who needed access to the facility. There was only one main access to the hospital. Communities on the Bizana side of the hospital are situated close to the hospital, but because there was no access road, those communities were forced to use the longer tarred road to reach the hospital. The major challenge of this road was that public transport to the hospital was only available in the morning. This placed a huge financial burden on people in the villages who made used of the health facilities as they had to rent private transport to visit the hospitals. The department indicated that there was a need for a pedestrian bridge from the Bizana side that would provide access for communities to the hospital.


7.1 Taxi rank

7.1.1 The Committee felt that the municipality faced a multitude of challenges that called for continuous engagement between the different stakeholders to address the inherent challenges in the municipality. It was suggested that a meeting be held with the Department of Water Affairs, the provincial Department of Roads and Public Works, the OR Tambo District Municipality and the local municipality. The Committee urged the local stakeholders to commit themselves to engagement with issues in a transparent and honest manner.

7.1.2 The issue of the incomplete taxi rank should be resolved and the municipality should take the lead in addressing this matter.

7.1.3 The municipal manager from the Ingquza Hill Local Municipality said that sanitation and water was the responsibility of the OR Tambo District Municipality. The Committee noted that the responsibility of water and sanitation should be executed by the local municipality and not district municipality.

7.1.4 The councillors should ensure waste management at the taxi rank and in town should be improved and there should be awareness creation about this matter at community level.

7.1.5 The local government ordinance 33 of 1934 should be repealed to address the issue of town planning and development. The Committee was of the opinion that there was a need to repeal old apartheid laws that were hindering development.

7.1.6 The municipal manager should compile a report detailing all the challenges affecting the municipality and it forward it to the Committee.

7.1.7 The Committee would revisit the municipality in three months time to review progress.

7.1.8 The Eastern Cape MEC of Roads and Public Works undertook to forward a report on the expenditure patterns for S’hamba Sonke to the Committee.

7.2 Pothole repairs

7.2.1 The method used for pothole repairs was damaging the roads. The Minister should monitor whether the programme achieves its intended objectives and if there is value for money. It is not acceptable that a pothole repaired today is a pothole again two days later

7.2.2 All provinces should establish project management units to monitor the implementation of S’hamba Sonke

7.3 Business plans

7.3.1 Provinces should submit their business plans and performance reports on S’hamba Sonke to the Department of Transport and to National Treasury.

7.3.2 Where a province lackrd capacity pertaining to proper costing and budgeting, both the Department of Transport and the National Treasury should intervene and offer the necessary assistance.


Roads are among the most important public assets in a country. Road improvements bring immediate and sometimes dramatic benefits to road users through improved access to hospitals, schools, markets, improved comfort, speed, safety and lower vehicle operating costs. For these benefits to be sustained, road improvements must be followed by well-planned maintenance programmes. Without regular maintenance, roads can rapidly fall into disrepair, preventing the realisation of the longer-term impact of road improvements and development.

Postponing road maintenance resulted in high direct and indirect costs. If roads are repaired promptly, the costs are usually modest. China’s economic development strategy, which placed transport infrastructural development in rural areas central to economic development, showed that, if properly implemented and well monitored, S’hamba Sonke would go a long way towards ensuring that transport is, indeed, the catalyst for the country’s socio-economic development.

The Committee’s observation in China showed that investment in transport infrastructural development would be an enabling tool for attracting investment to rural areas. The Committee remains concerned about the non-compliance with road maintenance standards as well as the lack of all-weather access roads to schools and hospitals. The Committee took note of areas of underachievement, non-compliance and challenges. These areas would be noted for further monitoring and oversight.

Report to be considered.


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