MBABANE: Vincent Dlamini, the Chief Roads Engineer in the Ministry of Public Works and Transport said government was now struggling to maintain roads in the country particularly in the rural areas due to lack of working equipment.
Dlamini who was authorised by Principal Secretary Khangeziwe Mabuza to respond to questions from this Swaziland News regarding the state of the country’s roads said among the challenges they face when conducting their duties was the lack of diesel fuel and the availability of well serviced plant machinery among others.
“We are faced with diesel fuel challenges but even if that fuel could be available, we cannot maintain the roads because most of the plant machinery we using are not functional, sometimes the CTA takes too long fix due to government\'s financial challenges. However, I am not mandated to speak in detail about the financial challenges, it is the Ministry of Finance that should respond on that”, said the Chief Roads Engineer.
When asked if government prepared a budget for the maintenance of roads in this financial year, the Chief Roads Engineer said most of the time, they receive a budget that was only on paper without the cash and this then contributed to the non-availability of fuel to maintain the roads, however, he consistently maintained that the Ministry of Finance was the rightful department to respond on cash flow issues.
An insider within the corridors of power told this publication that the situation was getting worse in government adding that it might take sometime before the roads are maintained.
“Government is broke and almost grounded, most of the time the delay in fixing the machinery used by the Ministry of Public Works is caused by the non-availability of funds and there are no indications suggesting that the situation might normalise soon, that’s the reality” said the insider.
Reached for comments, Sikhumbuzo Phakathi, the Chairperson of Masiphula Development Forum under Shiselweni 1 Constituency wondered why government keeps on citing cash flow challenges, knowing very well what the cause of the problem was .
“Yes there is a cash flow problem, but who caused it? This government is one of thieves, Eswatini has resources that are misused and If we stop these vanity projects like the ICC we would be having enough money for our roads”, he said.
Phakathi who is leading a campaign by residents to force government to maintain a road connecting Masiphula and Mntabe under Shiselweni 1 Constituency blamed the royal family for looting public resources that resulted to the State struggling to provide services to the people.
“Government and the royal family must stop stealing from the public purse, the King\'ss civil list must be discontinued, nepotism must stop” ,he said.
Brian Sangweni, the Spokesperson of the People’s United Democratic Movement(PUDEMO) said the Tinkhundla system of government never stops to disappoint despite that it’s founding document emphasises inclusive development.
“Its a pity and shame that its founding document emphasises on inclusive development while what we see on the ground is a skewed development programme benefiting the royal family and its few loyalists. Surely luxurious expenditures and opulent life will not cease to be practiced by the royal family whereas the claim will remain that government does not have money and most painfully, such practices will be even defended by the public officials entrusted with the responsibility to serve the public”,said the PUDEMO Spokesperson.
TLB parked(Online pic)