AGRI Eastern Cape was overjoyed with the outcome of a court case against the provincial roads department that compels the department to attend to rural gravel roads that require repair and maintenance.
President of Agri Eastern Cape Doug Stern released a press statement today announcing that after a two year process, finality had been achieved.
The Grahamstown High Court’s order to the provincial roads department states that:
- Within 90 days of the order contractors be identified for repair of the roads identified in Annexure A of the order.
- Within six months the integrated routine maintenance contracts for all other roads be finalised.
- Where the department is not providing proper in-house repair and maintenance services, the department shall finalise service level agreements with municipalities, or contractors within six months of the date of the order.
- The department is to provide within 90 days of the order full details of roads to be resealed and rehabilitated, and to commence with such work within six months of the date of the order.
- The department implement the “fast response in-house operation” within 90 days of the date of this order, to address situations where floods or natural disasters require immediate interventions.
- A detailed procedure has been set out which will enable farmers, who are members of Agri Eastern Cape, to notify the department, to obtain quotes for repairs, authorise the work, pay the contractors, and obtain refunds from the department. Each stage of this process has been circumscribed to allow for interventions by the department, and ultimately the work must meet with their approval. A procedure has been put into place to allow a dispute to be referred to the chairman of the Civil Engineers Association for the district in question for a decision. Such a decision may be reviewed by a senior advocate of not less than five years standing; his decision shall be final.
- There is a similar procedure set out where repairs can be carried out by individual farmers, at the expense of the department, in the event of an emergency.
- It has been ordered that the department shall pay the legal costs of the application.
In addition, the department is obliged to file a progress report to the court on its compliance with this order on or before May 30.