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East Cape farmers ready to fix roads – and bill Bhisho

06 May 2016
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Farmers in the Eastern Cape, tired of waiting for the provincial government to repair badly neglected roads, are ready and willing to do the job themselves – and bill Bhisho for the work.

Agri East Cape now intends taking the matter to the Grahamstown High Court on May 12, seeking permission to go ahead with their plans, according to Netwerk24.

The backlog for maintaining and repairing Eastern Cape roads is said to be running at R25 billion.

Douglas Stern, president of Agri EC, said the transport network was close to complete collapse and the situation was getting worse.

“The deterioration of our roads has become so unbearable that we want to repair and maintain them ourselves, but the (roads) department must bear the cost,” Stern told the news site.

He expected the authorities to blame a lack of money for failing to solve the problem, but said the work would probably cost less than what the provincial government would’ve paid to have the job done.

And the farmers would at least have certainty that it would be done, he added.

Stern said Agri EC would represent all its members in the court application because all of them were being disadvantaged.

“In addition to the incalculable damage to their vehicles, which the farmers must repair at their own cost, many transport companies refuse to go to the farms to load or unload goods because they fear damage to their vehicles.”

Stern said the provincial government had failed to meet promises to maintain the roads and should be called to account. And to make it worse, he said, the officials did not respond to requests to repair roads.