Traffic officials stopped these lorries in Kimberley in June, according to the Diamond Fields Advertiser. Picture by Danie van der Lith

Residents and officials in Kimberley, South Africa, are complaining because they are having to foot the bill for damage to local roads caused by massive lorries.

Spokesman Sello Matsie told the Diamond Fields Advertiser that the Sol Plaatje community was spending £2 million on repairing roads damaged by heavy vehicles.

He said: “It is unfair to expect residents to foot the bill for the maintenance and repair of roads, while large companies are making huge profits. The roads in Kimberley are not designed to carry heavy loads.”

The trucks are carrying manganese more than 500 miles from Hotazel to Port Elizabeth.

In an attempt to clamp down on overloaded lorries, officials in Kimberley impounded three trucks.

The limit on local roads is 58 tonnes but some reports said the lorries weigh around 80 tonnes.

Mr Matsie said: “The exact weight cannot be determined precisely because it exceeds the capacity of the weighbridge.”

The lorry owners protested about the lorries being impounded and said they were entitled to operate lorries up to 120 tonnes. It denied having links with the ruling ANC.

In any sane society, loads like this over such long distances would go by rail.

But since it came to power the ANC has allowed lorry weights to increase while seeing rail freight collapse.

In Europe, European transport ministers, backed by the Parliament, recently rejected proposals from the Commission to allow mega lorries on cross-border journeys.

A 1,600 tonne freight train needs less energy than one 60-tonne lorry.