A mere six per cent of Joburg’s 902 bridges are in a good condition – and this is not all the City of Johannesburg is concerned about.
The City’s roads, pavements, electrical networks, water pipes, drains and pretty much all of its infrastructure is holding on by a thread. This was the message Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba shared late last year and has been reiterating ever since.
He said the fight he is fighting is dealing with a R170 billion backlog that will take at least 10 years to fix.
“These are enormous inherited backlogs from years of neglect that have seen our roads deteriorating over the past decade. It is for this reason that I have required the entire capital budget to be spent just on roads to the total deprivation of housing, electricity and water.
“It is unfortunate that the administration has inherited a R12 billion backlog in our road infrastructure, and a R56 billion backlog in our stormwater drainage systems. In a survey conducted in 2017, 3900km of our road network fell into the poor or very poor condition.”
Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) engineer Thomas Chongo explained that sections of the M2 bridge that will undergo an emergency 12-month construction and maintenance project starting October, is but one on the list of bridges that have a maintenance backlog.
“We use our resources as we get it to address all of the backlogs by priority. We need over R50 billion to address all the backlogs,” he said.
Mashaba revealed that the JRA needs R81,5 billion over 10 years to fix its problems. City Power needs R17 billion to fix aged transformers and replace overhead cables that are so prone to theft. Johannesburg Water needs R12,64 billion.
This financial year, the City has less than R10 billion capital expenditure to spend on projects. Mashaba said the National Treasury standard of spending more than eight per cent of the total value of the City’s fixed assets is close to being realised. “We are currently spending about six per cent and I want it up to 10 per cent by 2021 because of the backlog,” he said.