Roads Report – Peter Pyke

This portfolio was taken up in June 2020 having been vacant.

Your PBRRA intends to monitor Supply Chain Management tenders in future to see who the work is being given to, assessing if the price is reasonable and what the standards are that they are being held to. We will also monitor street lighting, their maintenance and the price and sourcing of procurement.

According to Phillip Dietzsch, the official in charge of roads in Bitou, the road network has been audited and they have produced a budget for addressing road maintenance which will require more than R20 million.

Unfortunately the requirements are far in excess of money allocated for road maintenance and so they try to patch wherever possible to stretch resources and resurface only the worst sections. This often means that only short sections are resurfaced where we might have expected the whole street to be resurfaced.

Phillip Dietzsch was retired at the end of July. He is current being retained on a month by month contract.

Minor repairs are undertaken by the municipal team while major work is undertaken on contract. The municipaIity has a dedicated road maintenance crew which does ongoing pothole filling and other minor repairs. The team are repairing about 100 potholes/month but are falling further behind with rain aggravating pothole formation. A road contractor has been given a 3 year contract currently in its second year. Many of the major repairs and resurfacing requires specialised equipment which the municipality doesn’t have.

The new budget cycle started 1 July but the roads section only received details of their allocation on 29 July. The budget allocated is normally distributed in wards according to length of road per ward. At the end of November, the repair focus moved from Plett South (of the Piesang River) to Plett North with the Keurbooms, New Horizons, Kwanokuthula and Kranshoek areas to follow.

Closer scrutiny of the Traffic Department is also required.  A tender for R8.5 m was given to TMT Traffic Management for “supply, maintenance, repair and calibration of digital speed and red light violation cameras.”  We have one traffic light in Plett and a handful of speed cameras.  The tender was delayed by wanting it re-tendered, which cost the municipality R30.8 million in lost revenue from fines.  And now, due to a further contract dispute, it is costing us much more.  Some half a million rand was spent on traffic uniforms, which sounds excessive.  We will be looking into these tenders very carefully.

There appears to be a lack of school signs on Piesang Valley Road.  There are no warning signs that there is a school, to warn people that cars are turning off, children are walking along that stretch, and that is illegal.  There should be warning signage for all schools. Where it is a Provincial Road, the Bitou Traffic Department must escalate the issue to the relevant authorities.

Procedure for reporting potholes and other road problems such as missing and damaged street signs is to log a call with Bitou Customer Care at 044 501 3175 but make sure that a reference number is given.