SA budgets R542.5m for flood repairs to two roads

South Africa, which is still tallying the cost of damage caused by devastating floods last month, will spend more than half a billion rand just to repair two of the country’s most important national roads.

The repair work on the N2, which follows the coastline from Cape Town almost all the way to Mozambique, and the N3, which connects the economic hub of Johannesburg to the port city of Durban, will cost R542.5 million ($34 million), Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula said in a speech on Friday.

The bill will be funded by the South African National Roads Agency and is probably only a fraction of what it will cost the country to recover from the widespread chaos caused in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. Just deploying the army to assist in those regions is expected to cost R506.4 million. And that’s before adding up repairs needed to rail networks, housing, bridges, ports and minor roads.

The costs are adding strain to government’s already tight budget after spending ballooned with the coronavirus pandemic and rose further after deadly riots in July, which left more than 350 people dead and caused billions of rand in damage. Debt is projected to be close to 70% of gross domestic product and the state is under pressure to rein in the budget deficit.

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