The Eastern Cape Department of Roads has not budgeted for emergency road repairs caused by flooding.

This could make it increasingly difficult for the Kouga Municipality to access the R 87 million in flood damage funding authorised by the Council.

The border between the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape tells a story.

Our roads have taken a hammering in Jeffreys Bay, with patchwork fixing of potholes commonplace and without the help of the local community the roads would have been in a parlous state.

The Marina Martinique Homeowners Association stepped into the breach and did emergency fixing of potholes in the CDB and community organizations fixed roads in St Francis Bay as well..

However, the state of the roads in the Kouga is mirrored elsewhere in the Eastern Cape.

Recently the Democratic Alliance (DA) highlighted the state of the roads leading from Sundays River Valley to the harbours.

These roads are used by trucks carrying citrus for export: a revenue worth R1,5 billion to the province annually.

Due to the deterioration of these roads it is estimated that only 260 000 tons or 60% of the yield of citrus will be exported this year.

As the citrus season is only six months long such a loss has dire financial consequences for the citrus and related industries.

This will have an immediate knock-on effect on further job losses, something this province can ill afford.

Other industries such as the tourism and dairy industries have been left stranded because clients and deliveries could not take place due to damaged roads.

The DA in the Eastern Cape has suggested the following quick wins that must be implemented to improve the dire situation in the Kouga and elsewhere:

• There needs to be sufficient budget for damage caused by floods and other weather perils.

• The MEC, Thandiswa Marawu, needs to be more pro-active in sourcing emergency funding from parliament.

• The money spinner and job creator roads like the Sundays River Valley and elsewhere must be maintained on a sustained basis so that these industries do not collapse.

• The use of competent contractors and legal staff to ensure maintenance clauses are inserted into construction projects to prevent long term maintenance costs that would be incurred as is now happening.

• Finally there needs to be a shift of transport of freight from road to rail.

If this can be achieved quickly, the life span of our roads and road maintenance costs will decrease substantially leaving budgeted money for other developmental priorities.

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