Threatened letter to the press finally gets Memel road fixed

2014-07-02 00:00

A CONTRACTOR has been appointed to fix the dangerous Memel Road connecting KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State.

The state of disrepair on the road has allegedly led to many accidents and loss of lives.

Johan Pieters of Champ Marketing, the organisation at the forefront of the campaign to have the road repaired, said they had campaigned for the last six years trying to pressure the government into repairing the (R34) Memel road.

The Newcastle Advertiser reported that R80 million was going to be spent on repairing the road.

It said over the years motorists have suffered extensive damage to their vehicles due to the large craters that span the Free State side of the road, and countless lives have been lost by motorists veering into the oncoming lane to avoid the potholes.

It said more than 1 000 people joined the Facebook page geared toward having the road repaired. An online petition was signed by 7 280 people and Champ Marketing started a website that has been visited by 125 000 people detailing the conditions of the road.

Pictures on the website show large potholes.

“The road was in a state of disrepair. It had huge potholes and you had to zig zag while driving … On a daily basis it has caused accidents, some people have lost tyres and others have lost their loved ones ... The KZN side is brilliant, it’s just the Free State side,” said Pieters.

The government moved after the organisation threatened to publish an open letter in a Sunday newspaper.

“We sent the information also to the Free State government; they called us to Bloemfontein for a meeting and we had a very productive two hours.”

Pieters said he was very happy that a contractor has been appointed and said construction vehicles are flooding the area with workers looking for a place to stay for the duration of the construction.

He said the road was important as it was an economic corridor for both provinces. “Our own [Newcastle] mayor [Afzul Rehman] got involved.”

Rehman said the road was an important link between the two provinces and they had to lobby very hard to have the road repaired and were grateful to the Free State government for responding positively. “We have received confirmation from the Free State government that monies have been allocated and I have also heard that workers are now on site although I have not seen them with my eyes,” he said.


PHOTO: supplied

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