It is common knowledge that the government is currently burdened with the coronavirus (COVID-19) devastations, which continue to dent many country's coffers.
It seems the virus is mutating, making it even more difficult to control, even lessen fatalities. There is yet another matter that also brings death to many a families' doorstep; our roads. Our roads are a deathtrap.
Any motorist driving around Gaborone will attest to the fact that most roads are in a poor condition for motorists to be driving. Our roads have so many potholes that drivers don't go for long distances without running into a pothole. Potholes, as we all know, are dangerous and can cause accidents. When talking about accidents on our roads, we rarely mention the condition of our roads as another factor that can contribute to fatal accidents, but they do! Most roads in Gaborone need not only an experienced driver, but also someone familiar with particular roads, and perhaps know where the potholes are located to manoeuvre. For those who are not familiar with the roads, it is a total nightmare as the driver will only notice the pothole when they are very close, and some may swerve without observing to avoid the pothole, which sadly may result in an accident.
Our March 8, 2021 issue carried an article in which Minister of Transport and Communication, Thulaganyo Segokgo acknowledged that fixing the roads, which were made worse by the heavy rains that the country experienced in the past few months, is a headache for his ministry. In his own words, the minister said: "We have observed that our roads in their different forms have been affected badly by the rains. Rains are never good for roads. Fixing roads will not be easy because, despite the allocated budgets, we need the Road Fund Levy to help in maintaining roads. Unfortunately at the moment, the funds are still low as some were used in the fight against COVID-19 and it (ministry) is still recovering."
The ministry through the Road Fund Levy contributed P600 million to assist in the fight against COVID-19. From the look of things, the ministry is now stuck and we might have to deal with the bad roads for a little while longer.
Understandably, the money was diverted to fight a good cause, but this other problem also needs urgent attention, because bad roads are also a danger to people's lives, and they cause serious damage to people's vehicles.
The issue of potholes on roads is not anything new, it is an issue, which was there even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, and perhaps it is time for the ministry to review its policies and come up with ways of ensuring that our roads meet the required standards. It has been said before that most of our roads have exceeded their lifespan, which is usually put at 20 years, hence the many potholes. The government has lost millions of pula on covering the potholes, a process, which is usually undone by the time first rains hit, even if they are not heavy. Our roads need to be fixed urgently!