The development of the rural roads network for sustainable livelihoods in South African local municipalities
Rural roads infrastructure is an indispensable asset for the rural communities. It is the backbone of their livelihoods. In South Africa, the conditions of the rural roads have been deteriorating and seem to be receiving less attention that it deserves. This study investigated the role of rural roads infrastructure on rural development and sustainable livelihoods. Furthermore, the study sought to establish the impact of poor road networks on the livelihoods of rural communities. It also investigated the challenges associated with poor road networks and how they become a barrier to socio-economic development within rural areas. Using literature survey and visual observations, the findings of the study indicate that the poor roads in the rural areas are contributing factor to poverty as the community members are deprived of the basic goods and services due to lack of infrastructure. The municipal area boasts a lot of potential in terms of economic development, but the lack of good access to quality roads hinders such development. The rural communities find it difficult to transport their foods and non-foods produce to the market due to poor road access. The roads are characterized by moderate distresses, which make it difficult for vehicles to navigate the roads and makes the rural areas unattractive to the potential investors. As part of the recommendations, it is suggested that the rural communities be engaged in participating in maintaining their own roads for their own benefit. Policy makers and the government should also treat rural road development as a priority, given the problems associated with poor roads infrastructure. The findings of this study clearly show that the impassability of access to the roads by rural people does not only impede the delivery of basic services such as education, information and education information but also affect sustainability and growth of local enterprises.
Keywords: Rural communities, Roads, Infrastructure, Rural development, Sustainable Livelihoods