Durban - Trucking companies whose vehicles travel on roads in the eThekwini Municipality should be encouraged to invest in the maintenance and upkeep of the infrastructure.
This is according to acting head of the city’s engineering department Thanda Zulu, who was speaking recently on the state of the City’s roads and the efforts taken to repair some of the damage that was caused by the floods last year.
He was speaking on the City’s online engagement platform called eThekwini Matters.
Responding to a statement made by the host of eThekwini Matters on the impact of trucks on the roads, Zulu said that there must be engagements with trucking companies because of the huge negative impact their vehicles had, especially on roads that were not originally designed to be used by heavy-duty vehicles.
He added that if a company was operating its trucks on the municipality’s roads, it should be encouraged to invest in the upkeep of the infrastructure. “We have not gone very far with that discussion, but at some point we need to have that conversation,” he said.
Zulu also gave an update on the work being done to repair roads that were damaged by the floods.
Asked about the recovery efforts in light of the scale of the disaster, he said: “To be honest with you (the host) we are still at 20%.
“After the floods we submitted a business plan to the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC), for work that (will cost) approximately R2 billion.
“We had a meeting with NDMC (in March) where they confirmed the city will be receiving about R1.5bn, R300 million will be going to water and R1.2bn will be going to roads and stormwater repairs,” he said.
It is in addition to the R185m that the municipality received last year, of which R70m was used to start work on repairing roads.
He said that a lot of work has been done to fix the road infrastructure and this was due to the city’s internal capacity.
“Any other smaller municipality could not have responded to this crisis the way we have.
“Most of these engineers went to school through (the assistance of) the city, that is why we have a number of them. We demonstrated to the whole of South Africa that we have capacity,” he said.
Approached for comment, Gavin Kelly, CEO of the Road Freight Association, said: “Truck owners pay licence fees far in excess of light motor vehicles. The reason for this is that the licence fee is based on the tare (weight) of the vehicle and the subsequent use (wear) on the road. This fee is used to fund the maintenance of roads. The proposers of such a policy to make freight companies ‘pay more’ for the use of the road will inevitably result in increased rates for the movement of freight.”