To clear the maintenance backlog of South Africa’s gravel and paved roads will cost an estimated R400 billion. This is according to University of Cape Town’s Professor Don Ross and an academic Mathew Townshend.

They are among experts attending annual Southern Africa Transport Conference underway in Pretoria.

According to Ross, 77.5% of all gravel roads in the country are currently in a poor or very poor condition.

He says this percentage translates into a functional maintenance backlog amounting to R243.7 billion and a R281.2 billion backlog for technical needs maintenance.

Professor Ross says South Africa does not have the money to deal with the maintenance backlog.

“The rate at which the backlog is accumulating has been growing. So, let’s put some numbers on that. In 2013, there was an assessment of the size of the backlog and it was estimated at R197 billion. Our own estimate now, much more recent estimate has it at R416 billion. So, that’s more than doubling in just the last four, five years. The bottom line on that is it’s not something we can solve by just throwing money at it.”