The road that links President Jacob Zuma’s home village in Nkandla with nearby towns has been rehabilitated for R45-million – only four years after it was built.
The 34km P15 was built in 2012 at a cost of R290-million.
It runs past Zuma’s private residence and links his village of KwaNxamalala with nearby Kranskop and Eshowe. The road has developed potholes and an uneven surface, posing a serious danger to motorists.
KwaZulu-Natal transport department spokesman Kwanele Ncalane said three companies, Crossmoor, Aqua Transport and a third, unnamed firm had been awarded contracts to fix the P15. The work started in February this year and is due to be completed in August.
Ncalane said repairs to the first two sections of the road (about 15km) had been done at a cost of R45-million.
“There are heavy loads on the road and there have been too many accidents. This is classified as light rehabilitation to improve the lifespan of the road,” he said.
Ncalane said he did not know the cost to fix the rest of the road.
Rafeek Shah, a DA MPL and member of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature’s committee on transport, said the P15 was a “matter of grave concern”.
A road built only four years ago should “not deteriorate to the extent which now warrants millions for refurbishment”.
Shah also questioned why money was spent on one road in Nkandla when so many others required rehabilitative work.
Another major arterial road in the area, the R68, is busier. It links Melmoth and nearby towns such as Nkandla, Dundee, Babanango and Nquthu and is riddled with potholes.
“Communities living in other rural areas suffer socioeconomic deprivation as there are inadequate roads … but we can afford to spend millions for the benefit of one person’s clan and homestead.”
Shah said he would demand answers about costs and who had been given the work on the P15.
“I would like an audit of the costs incurred on the project and to know whether due processes were followed in awarding the contracts.”
According to road specialists, the lifespan of a tarred road should be at least 20 years.
The refurbishing of the road is one of a number of road projects worth more than R600-million that have been done in and around Nkandla in recent years.
Claims that the upgrades around Nkandla are for the president have been rejected by the state.
A joint standing committee on intelligence special report on the security measures at Zuma’s residence cited the conditions of roads in Nkandla as “generally very poor.”
The report also said the 200km between Zuma’s home and King Shaka International Airport – which includes the P15 – posed a “transportation challenge for the president”.
The P15 is also regarded as crucial to the development of the planned R2-billion, privately funded town near Zuma’s village that has been dubbed “Zumaville”.