Be cautious on R334 road, warns attack victim

2015-05-13 06:00

PROVINCIAL roads have lost their economic life and catching up with the buildup of decay is a major problem, the Department of Roads and Public Works has admitted.

This is after a Uitenhage businessman was almost killed during an attempted hijacking at the R334 road intersection near Motherwell on May 4.

District road engineer Marius Keyser said it would take them almost two years to repair damaged and decaying roads in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Keyser said to keep the roads operational and prevent further decay, they were keeping maintenance at full capacity on the R334, Mission Road, Victoria Drive and Maitlands road.

“We have a massive backlog and we have slipped into a problem which will take time to catch up,” he said.

Although the R334 had deteriorated, they had done some maintenance work two months ago, but due to improper drainage, the problem persisted.

“We now have a 24-month contract with a private company for road maintenance work, through a public tender which will be supervised by consulting engineers.

“We are upset about what is happening on our roads, but there is only so much you can do, especially with criminal elements creeping in. We have erected warning signs and we keep cleaning and cutting the bush to deter criminals,” he said.

But that was not the case for the Uitenhage man, who wished to remain anonymous for his safety.

He was attacked when he stopped on the R334 on May 4, using his wife’s VW Polo, to take pictures of the R334 for insurance purposes after his car had been towed on the road days earlier with damage amounting to R19 400.

“I stopped at the intersection to take pictures of the damaged road, and I was hit with a gun on the back of my head when four men attacked me.”

He said his attackers had been distracted by an oncoming vehicle. He was stabbed 12 times and shot at twice.

“I can’t begin to think of what would have happened to me had that car not come towards us. I am a strong man and I fought for my life as they tried to take to the bushes beside the road. Those men would have killed me.

“The pain will go away, but the trauma and having to live with those scars will taunt me for a long time.”

He said he needed to tell his story to warn the public of the road and to get the department to shut down the decaying R334.

“That road needs to be closed or repaired. There need to be signs, proper repairs and security for people before they open that road. What does it take to get these people to act and ensure the safety of motorists?” he asked.

A Swartkops police officer said he could not comment on the case as two men had been arrested and were awaiting trial. However, he said the police were gravely concerned about public safety on the R334.

“Several cases have been reported on that road. One that comes to mind is the rape of a child at that very intersection. It’s a huge concern and a problem for the police,” said the police officer.

Keyser said for complete reconstruction of the R334 and several other provincial roads in the metro, the department relied on money from the national government, which at the moment was not available to it

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