Drive to ease city traffic

2014-11-04 00:00

THE Msunduzi Municipality is forming task teams to deal with traffic violations in the CBD.

A priority issue the teams will deal with are forklifts zig-zagging across streets while loading and off-loading, and double- and triple-parked trucks.

Mayor Chris Ndlela, who is on a drive to clean up the city, has taken a personal interest in the lawlessness that results in gridlocks on the city’s streets.

The mayor, acknowledging that the buck stopped with the municipality in enforcing law and order in the city, said the plan was to have more visible policing.

He said Pietermaritzburg was the provincial capital, and the municipality had to ensure that the streets were clean and traffic flowed freely through the city.

“As we are the seat of the province, we have to be exemplary in our conduct and this is what we are endeavouring to do in the drive to clean up and make our city more law-abiding,” Ndlela said.

The mayor appealed to the business community to play its part in controlling the use of forklifts on the streets and to be courteous to surrounding residents, neighbouring businesses and motorists by ensuring that delivery trucks do not obstruct traffic.

The matter is also being taken up by the Downtown Steering Committee, which is on a mission to clean up their area.

Kantha Naidoo of Asmalls, the co-ordinator of the committee, said she was bombarded daily with photographs and videos of delivery vehicles obstructing traffic.

She said this was one of the key issues the committee was asked to take up with the municipality.

Naidoo said complaints centred on the main roads downtown being colonised by certain businesses who were using the city’s roads as their personal loading zones.

A recent meeting heard that it was illegal for forklifts to operate on public roads and that the selfishness of some businesses was affecting the operations of others.

According to downtown residents and shoppers canvassed by The Witness, forklifts criss-cross the roads, holding up traffic as they off-load goods from trucks that are double- and triple-parked.

The lives of motorists and pedestrians are endangered as the forklifts, with their prongs, dart across the roads and onto pavements.

The result is that traffic is gridlocked and goods are stacked on pavements, forcing pedestrians to walk on the roads and in the path of traffic.

In addition, pavements are being damaged. The municipality is repairing broken pavements, but residents in the area say that ratepayers’ money is being wasted as they will soon be broken again by the forklifts.

The latest developments come after Ndlela’s recent comments about lawlessness in the city.

Ndlela had spoken out in an executive committee meeting and asked “why have we got so many people who are not respecting the law?”

He said lawlessness was extremely high in Pietermaritzburg, commenting after it was brought to his attention that traffic officers on point duty had been knocked down, robbed and assaulted.

Ndlela said the municipality was endeavouring to clean up its act and make Pietermaritzburg the “city of choice” and a worthy provincial capital.

Residents and businesses should also play their part, the mayor added.

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