“Roads tell a story of who we are, where come from as a country … and speak to our future.”
Enjoying a holiday this Heritage Month has not just been about arriving at the destination, but the joy of travelling there.
As the saying goes, you may have travelled near and far, but you have not experienced a country until you have taken a journey on its roads.
South Africa’s national roads are internationally recognised for their excellence – safe, comfortable to drive on and clearly marked with no potholes.
September has been set aside as Heritage Month, which translates to a time to reflect on our history, diverse cultures and traditions.
Vusi Mona, South African National Roads Agency (SOC) Limited (SANRAL) General Manager of Communications, said: “South Africa has an interesting history marked by fascinating landmarks, such as historic buildings, pieces of art and important heritage sites which tell our story and journey as a country.”
One of South Africa’s major heritage assets are the country’s roads.
This basic infrastructure, which is taken for granted, serves a bigger purpose than merely just routes for travel.
“Roads tell a story of who we are and where we come from as a country, we choose to name them after our heroes and icons. Most importantly roads speak to our future. South African roads are described in the National Development Plan as the country’s largest single public asset,” said Mona.
SANRAL changed the narrative
Some roads began as tracks made by ox wagons. There was no supporting infrastructure. Transport of people and goods was difficult.
Over time things changed for the better, thanks to agencies such as SANRAL.
It was one of the first state-owned entities to be established in the democratic era. Its mandate is to manage and control the national road network and create economic value for the nation by providing road infrastructure, explained Mona.
The agency has been the custodian of national roads since 1998 and looks after all the national roads in South Africa’s nine provinces – linking cities to towns and people to places.
Mona said: “Roads can unlock the economic potential of a region. Small towns across the country have transformed into major tourist destinations for our local and international community. Moreover, they have turned into hubs for business due to access provided by roads.
“When we build roads, we are not only uplifting communities. We are building a legacy and creating landmarks. This year, as we celebrate Heritage Month, remember that you own the roads that make our country unique.”