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Johannesburg - Incensed Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport Ismail Vadi has vowed to deal with road construction companies that are placing motorists and passengers’ lives in danger.
Vadi issued the warning yesterday after one of the construction companies doing business with his department apparently failed to fix several potholes on the N14 highway between Pretoria and Krugersdorp.
He made it clear he would mete out stiff sentences to any company neglecting its duty, adding that human life was more important for him.
Vavi discovered there was something amiss after he accompanied some of his department’s employees yesterday on an inspection of damage caused to provincial roads by the rainfall in the past few weeks.
The MEC and his team came across mega potholes – some of them the sizes of a fishpond – on the busy highway between Krugersdorp and Pretoria.
DANGER TO MOTORISTS
Vadi expressed concern about the poor state of roads on all the lanes, which he said posed a serious danger to motorists and their cars.
He joined his maintenance crew of more than 260 repairing the potholes.
The road that frustrated Vadi is used by more than 25 000 cars and trucks daily.
The grass on the verges was very high.
“The department gave a tender to a BEE company in October last year. It was no ordinary BEE company; it was a level 8 company, meaning it has all the necessary equipment and manpower to do a proper job.
“It is clear that the damage to these roads was not caused by the heavy rains of three weeks ago. These big potholes had been here for the past four months. It is clear that no maintenance was conducted on this road,” said an angry Vadi.
He threatened to terminate the company’s contract and possibly to blacklist it.
Big Eye Investment 210 CC was given a tender valued at almost R122 million over a period of three years to maintain the road.
The contract was for the maintenance of the road on the Krugersdorp side.
Big Eye director Simon Ntuli did not return several calls made to his cellphone.
The Star also contacted various family members, including his wife and son, who confirmed Ntuli’s cellphone number.
The company’s office number was not in use.
Vadi also announced his department would spend more than R500m to rehabilitate a 40km stretch of freeway on the same road, from Hendrik Potgieter Road to the Brakfontein interchange in Centurion.
He said the repairs would be tackled over the next two years.
Vadi also said his department would spend R300m on the upgrading of the N12 between the Misgund interchange near Eldorado Park and Merafong on the border with North West.
The N12 and N14 freeway upgrades would not be tolled and funding would come from his department.
Other upgrades would be on the R28 between Randfontein and Vereeniging, and the R55 between Laudium and Atteridgeville in Tshwane.
“Other key provincial roads to be repaired are the remaining portions of the Golden Highway along Eldorado Park/Devland and the R101.
“It is not just potholes that worry us, but a number of low-lying bridges have been severely damaged and sinkholes have emerged in some areas.
“Fortunately, no major provincial road has washed away in our province,” Vadi said.