The poor performance of the Road Contractor Company (RCC) and the challenges associated with the new Procurement Act have resulted in lost time hence the late response to the poor state of the gravel road network, said works minister, John Mutorwa.
He was responding to parliamentarian Madala Nauyoma last week who asked what plan the minister had in addressing the issue of gravel roads given that many Namibians will be travelling to their homes for holidays and most gravel roads will be busy.
Nauyoma said most gravel roads in the northern and eastern regions had never been graded after the previous rain season and are currently in a sorry state.
He gave an example of roads like the Onyati - Onkumbula, Okankol - Epembe - Elundu, Oshigambo - Onamukulo - Ondobe, Okapya - Ohalushu, Okapya - Eheke, Ondobe - Odibo, Ondoveyengwena - Omundaungilo as the busiest roads during holiday season.
In response, Mutorwa said, “To expedite the interventions required before the onset of the rains and the festive season, it has been planned to use seven grader units from the existing re-gravelling contract.”
He said these units will be procured through direct appointment and utilised for a period of three months only.
The Roads Authority has in the meantime already started to activate these grader units to grade the following roads, DR 3602: Okankolo - Ohenghono (53 km) ii) DR 3611: Oshidute - Omundaungilo (15 km) iii) DR 3625: Oliyateko Oshigambo (32 km) iv) DR 3636: Okapya - Onakamwadi (27 km)?v) DR 3637: Okapya - Ohalushu (27 km)?vi) DR 3639 Oshikango - Ohengobe (31 km) vii) DR 3645: Engoyi - Onanke (41 km).
“The first grader unit has arrived on site and is already grading roads. By the time the festive season arrives, all the roads listed above will be in a much better condition.”
“In line with the requirements of the new Procurement Act, the Roads Authority will be advertising to procure grader units for a five-year contract period while the above units are providing the much needed maintenance services,” said the minister.
Meanwhile, during 2016/17, a total of 220.7 kilometers were re-gravelled and 496 kilometers of bitumen standard roads were resealed as part of the RA’s maintenance programme.
In addition, 93 kilometers of salt roads were treated as routine maintenance at the total amount of N$5,868 million, says an RA annual report of 2016/17.
Overall, Namibia takes pride in harboring a world-class road network system and has been accorded the top position of having the best roads in Africa by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
These results came out through the WEF’s Global Competitiveness Report for 2017/18 which tracks the performance of approximately 140 countries on 12 pillars of competitiveness, the quality of road infrastructure development included.