R7bn needed to complete unfinished Limpopo roads - public works in response to protests

An estimated R7bn will be needed to complete all unfinished roads in Limpopo.

This is according to the spokesperson for the provincial department of public works, roads and infrastructure, Joshua Kwapa, who said the department currently does not have the budget to complete unfinished roads in the 2018/19 financial year.

Kwapa was speaking to News24 following a violent protest that spanned two days in Senwabarwana in the province's Blouberg Local Municipality.

Residents from the town took to the streets, blocked roads with burning tyres, threw stones and looted shops, police spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said on Tuesday.

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The residents are believed to be demanding the delivery of basic services from the municipality, which include the completion of the D3322 road outside Senwabarwana.

"When we built that road, the plan was to build it for certain kilometres (12km), which we did. And the reality is that it took longer for us to complete it. Even today we have not completed the remainder of the road."

Kwapa said there was not enough money to complete the road.

"It is not only that road that is not complete in the province, there are many of them," he added.

Road 'passable'

Kwapa said an assessment would be done on the road to establish how and when it can be completed. He added that the assessment would also establish new costs for its completion.

"New assessments on the road will give us the costs of its completion and we will place it on our plans. As to when we will complete it, we cannot tell," he said.

However, Kwapa said the department understood the residents' frustrations and was doing everything in its power to ensure that there was progress.

"The reality is that we have not budgeted for that road during this financial year because we still need to conduct assessments on it. However, we are using graders to ensure that the road is passable so long," Kwapa said.

On Tuesday, Ngoepe said six people, aged between 24 and 46, had been arrested during the violent protests in the area.

He said investigations that could lead to more arrests were still ongoing.

Ngoepe said the arrested suspects would appear in court soon on charges of incitement of violence, theft, malicious damage to property and public violence.

He added that the situation in the area remained calm and police are monitoring it.