Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga praises progress in R10-billion upgrade of Moloto Road


Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga praises progress in R10-billion upgrade of Moloto Road

                  Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga (right) and SANRAL CEO Reginald Demana listen to a briefing by SANRAL’s                             Moloto Road Project Manager, Nontobeko Mathenjwa, during the minister’s inspection of progress on the construction works.

Mpumalanga, Monday 4 March 2024 – Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga says she is impressed with the progress in the R10-billion upgrade of the notoriously unsafe R573 Moloto Road. Minister Chikunga was in Mpumalanga this morning ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Imbizo which is taking place in the province on Thursday, 7 March 2024.

Moloto Road, which spans Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo, is one of the busiest passenger transport routes in the country, ferrying approximately 60,000 commuters to and from Pretoria each day.

Minister Chikunga said the Moloto Road construction project was the result of a decision by national government to intervene in what was previously known as the ‘road of death’. “Moloto Road has a terrible reputation for being unsafe and that was why our government decided to intervene. This road connects three provinces, but in all the three provinces, it was a provincial road. With the crashes that were happening and the number of people dying on this one road, it was dubbed the road of death. We decided that national government needs to intervene and one of those interventions was to hand this road over to SANRAL for better construction and maintenance,” said Minister Chikunga.

“I am very pleased and impressed to see the progress that we are making in improving Moloto Road. I came here today ahead of President Ramaphosa’s District Development Model Imbizo in Mpumalanga and am happy to report that, indeed, we are on course to make this road safer and better for all road users. The work we are seeing here is proof that, indeed, government is delivering on its promises to our people,” she said.

SANRAL CEO Reginald Demana said the national roads agency was hard at work to deliver on one of the most pressing priorities of the Department of Transport. “We don’t want to continue referring to Moloto Road as ‘the road of death’. On the contrary, Moloto Road is the people’s road and that is why we are pushing our team and the construction companies hard to ensure that by 2025, we can say confidently that all packages of the work are underway so that the high number of fatalities can be history.”

“In addition to widening the road to become a dual-carriageway on significant stretches, there are major safety features such as traffic calming circles, agricultural underpasses for cattle to move under the road, lighting and a number of other measures which have been designed to reduce collisions and of course to ultimately ensure that the road is much safer for those people using this key economic artery,” said Demana.

Demana said that while SANRAL was accelerating construction on the Mpumalanga section of the project, the Limpopo section was well-advanced and construction there would be completed this year. In Gauteng, there have been delays in the transfer of land and roads but SANRAL was aiming to put the tenders for that section out to market in 2024.

SANRAL Project Manager Nontobeko Mathenjwa said the engineering team had complied with all relevant environmental laws and reduced the environmental impact by, for example, ensuring that construction did not disturb the water course and kept the river flowing at the bridge site which Miniser Chikunga visited. “We put a lot of work into managing the rivers and the stormwater system. We are also proud of the fact that there are a number of community development projects, including several access roads, which will create more job- and small business opportunities for locals.

Minister Chikunga also participated in work taking place in Thembisile Hani Local Municipality to repair potholes as part of Operation Vala Zonke, the national pothole campaign, on the D219 provincial road in Kwaggafontein, Mpumalanga.

Vala Zonke is an integrated, rigorous and comprehensive plan for provinces, municipalities, the private sector and the public to come together to eradicate the challenge of potholes on all South African roads and SANRAL was appointed as the coordinating agency to drive the campaign.

Minister Chikunga’s visit to Mpumalanga demonstrates the government’s commitment to implementing crucial infrastructure development projects, building safer roads and, in so doing, helping to grow South Africa’s economy.