“The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) has the biggest Roads function in the Western Cape”. This was confirmed by GRDM Executive Manager for Roads Services, Mr John G Daniels at their main office in George on Tuesday, 28 May 2019.
According to Mr Daniels, there are many projects in store for the Roads Department over the current and next financial years. Since the Roads Department is an agency function of the Western Cape Government (WCG), its financial year stretches from the beginning of April to the end of March the following year. The current financial year, therefore, already started in April 2019.
The Roads Department and road services budget
Mr Daniels confirmed his statement about the magnitude of the Department, when he said that the budget of the Roads Department amounts to over half a billion rand. “This budget is inclusive of the Department’s yellow fleet that amounts to R386 million, which makes us the biggest Roads Department in the Western Cape,” Mr Daniels boasted. The WCG increased the roads services budget from R145 million, last year, to R160 million for this year. The increase of R15 million could only have materialised due to the Department’s good record of expenditure and stable staff complement. “All these characteristics personify the Roads Services function and with everything necessary in place, we plan to spend R200 million again,” Mr Daniels said.
Projects in progress and to be implemented
One such project planned for the current and next financial years will be a R21 million project to be implemented in Slangrivier (Hessequa), which is foreseen to commence in August/September this year. Two other projects include the re-gravel and resealing of roads in the entire Garden Route district. The resealing will amount to R23 million and R17 million is budgeted for the re-gravelling project. The road building project in Friemersheim near Mossel Bay, is envisaged to be completed by September 2019. The R39 million project in Gwaiing (George) where the road is upgraded from gravel to tar, will be completed in the next financial year and will stretch over a period of 18 months.
Uplifting communities and making an impact
All these projects are labour intensive and with that in mind, Mr Daniels reiterated the importance of labour and the transfer of skills, when he said: “These are our main priorities for our communities before we complete and leave the area. Through our projects, we want to leave behind a skilled community and we plan to do the same for all our other projects”.
In explaining his statement, Mr Daniels added: “When GRDM Roads Services complete our work at a site (roads and infrastructure), we also leave behind a community that is uplifted and skilled, due to the monitory value invested in that community for a period of two years”. He further added: “We are not here only to deliver services, but we are also here to uplift the community from their social struggles, even if we only change 20 to 30% of their circumstances”. Adding to this, Mr Daniels clarified his statement by sketching the following scenario: “If a little boy attends school and his dad is unemployed, the teacher might ask him what his dad does for a living and the boy might shy away. After GRDM Roads appoints the dad on a two year contract and the teacher asks the boy again what his dad does for a living, only then will the boy confidently and proudly raise from his chair, wearing new shoes and clothes and answer: ‘My dad is a road builder!’. What this means, is that these new shoes and clothes were afforded by his dad who acquired a job at GRDM Roads – GRDM Roads indirectly supplied the boy with the new clothing. This will not only stay behind in the mind of the boy, but in the minds of the children of the community, and this is what we do – to uplift,” Mr Daniels highlighted.
Mr Daniels extended a word of appreciation to all the Roads staff by saying: “I thank each and every one of you for your commitment, endurance and work ethic. We made history by spending R200 million for the year!”