Farmers across the Free State have pleaded with the government to attend to the poor state of roads in the province. Farmers say the recent heavy rains have led to road degradation and made their work difficult as they cannot transport their goods and services.
Soutpan farmer, Martin Nel says the R703 connecting Brandfort, Soutpan, Dealsville and Verkeerdevlei needs urgent attention.
Nel alleges that the last time the road was maintained was in 2019, saying they are worried about what would happen in case of an emergency. Nel also adds that the cost of doing business under such terrible roads conditions has become more expensive.
“Yes the recent rainfalls, this is not a road anymore. This is now a river, it is impossible to drive here when it rained, you need to leave for a day to dry even to just take a chance on traveling on this road. It’s impossible nothing is happening, but in case something happens how are we going to get help? How is the police going to get here or ambulance of whatever?”
Free State Agriculture CEO, Jack Armour, says the recent heavy rainfall has worsened the current state of roads. Armour says poor infrastructure also adds to the problem.
“And the other big crisis with all this rain and water flowing everywhere our roads are washing away. Our roads are really bad and now it’s even worse. Often because of poor maintenance of the roads, poor water drainage pipes, and all that kind of stuff. The water is flooding up against the roads, the roads are now becoming a waterway. And because the roads are waterways, they are not diverting water properly from the roads. And all the water is flowing down the roads and washing all the top making deep dongas and galleys. And just hearing of so many accidents, really bad accidents, that are happening.”
The Free State Department of Roads and Transport was not available for comment.