Mamabolo’s tech-induced plan to ‘renew’ Gauteng’s road infrastructure

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Gauteng Public Transport and Road Infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo MEC Jacob Mamabolo has confirmed late payments to military veterans. Photo: Rosetta Msimango

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Gauteng’s road infrastructure and its associated delivery processes are done manually and that’s a problem, Jacob Mamabolo, MEC for Public Transport and Road Infrastructure, told City Press this week.

This manual process included submitting invoices and tracking progress, which resulted in delays.

Mamabolo said his department was working to overhaul the way transport infrastructure was delivered in the province – moving to automation processes using a project management dashboard.

“Most important is what I call the cogs of infrastructure delivery. My main concern with the infrastructure in general is that it is less automated. Mamabolo said:

There are too many manual processes compared to other industries such as retail and finance.

Last month, the MEC tabled a budget of over R8 billion for its department for the next financial year. In an interview after the presentation of the budget, Mamabolo presented his plan for the construction and renovation of roads in the province.

The delivery of engineers for the government is slow

He said to ensure that they provide the infrastructure efficiently, the ministry established the Transport Infrastructure House in 2020.

Said Mamabolo this week: “It’s the department’s project management office and it’s there to speed up the delivery of the infrastructure.

Mamabolo said:

As we have no internal capacity, we made a skills partnership with the private sector and those of the department.

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“We have realized that the engineering consulting firms and contractors we appoint on projects always deliver private sector projects such as shopping malls, they adhere to every letter of the contract, delivering projects on time. When it comes to delivering projects for the government, they will extend the deadlines three or four times,” Mamabolo said.

Crack the whip

The MEC said it will now crack the whip on companies that engage in such behavior.

“We will ensure that they do not miss deadlines, that they deliver the projects at the agreed amount [of money], and that the quality is up to standard – there will be no rework. ” He said:

Holds people accountable to the letter for the agreements they sign.

The Compliance Office, which was introduced to help break the whip, is run by an independent private sector law firm.

“Theirs [law firm’s role] is to manage contracts and ensure that the companies that work with us keep their promises. »

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Mamabolo said they also use technology in the compliance office. “We have a project management dashboard that can be viewed centrally by everyone in the department, unlike what we usually see, where projects are run on the laptops of civil servants and you never see a holistic portfolio,” he said.

The MEC added that the dashboard allows his department to see how many projects they are running, how they are performing and who the project managers are.

“We are breaking down the silos and lack of transparency that exist.”

Potholes in Gauteng

In an effort to fix potholes, Mamabolo said the PotholeFixGP app was introduced in May to help renew the province’s roads.

“We relied on councilors and officials to tell us where the potholes were. I said that’s not true, we need the audience to participate and tell us where the pressure points are. The government cannot tell the government where the potholes are,” he said.

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The app allows Gauteng residents to report poor road conditions by taking a photo of the pothole or dilapidated infrastructure, sending the location by dropping a pin or using the device’s GPS .

Mamabolo said once a pothole or road fault was reported, it would show up on a tracking dashboard.

“If people who report potholes give us their contact details, they will be contacted during the repair,” he said.

According to the MEC, PotholeFixGP worked in conjunction with another app called BackOffice, which was used by civil servants to track the work they were doing.

“Officials can take photos of the work they do and send them back to us to follow the progress. We are also extending the technology to the people who build and maintain our roads.

Mamabolo said the office now requires contractors who build and maintain the roads to submit photos of the progress they have made on a daily basis.

These measures would help deliver on the Gauteng government’s promises to build and renew the province’s road infrastructure, he said.

“We have to spend money on building infrastructure so that households have income.” He said:

This has a ripple effect in terms of building demand for the economy by ensuring that people can participate in the economy.

Last year, the department released a list of its priority infrastructure projects valued at R23 billion, to be delivered over the next ten years.

He said it was part of his contribution to an infrastructure-driven economic recovery. Of the 67 projects, 13 are contributions from private developers valued at R5.6 billion.

The MEC is so confident in its “turbocharged” plan that it has pledged to hold a handover ceremony in three months for one of the fast-track initiatives.

Mamabolo said:

It’s not to hang me, it’s to say that I hold a public office and that I have to deliver and show results.


Sthembiso Lebuso

Journalist


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