Roads put lives in danger

Huge potholes filled with dirty water. PHOTO: UNATHI OBOSE
Huge potholes filled with dirty water. PHOTO: UNATHI OBOSE

Kosovo informal settlement residents are blaming the poor state of local roads for risking their lives. Due to the poor and crumbling roads, especially White Hart Road, residents say taxi drivers are refusing to drive into the area, thus putting their lives in danger. Taxi drivers drop them at the corner of Parkway Street, forcing them to walk into Kosovo.

They have described their situation as “deadly”, as they run the risk of being robbed.

Resident Nophelo Zanga (46) works in Wynberg. She claims the road has been in a poor state for years. “It seems the City doesn’t have a solution with regard to White Hart. We need the road to be repaired permanently. There are huge potholes here. We don’t blame taxi drivers when they refuse to drive into Kosovo, because sometimes they get robbed while they are trying to move between the potholes. We blame the City for not taking care of us.”

A taxi driver who described himself as Mthura operates between Samora and Bellville. He believes the City is taking the taxi industry for granted. Mthura says taxis are impounded and drivers are fined daily, yet the state of roads continues deteriorate.

“Potholes are not only in Samora or Kosovo. Almost all the roads in Philippi have potholes. Kosovo has worst potholes than all the other areas. They are no longer potholes they are trenches now.” Mthura labels the quality of service rendered by the City a “disgrace”.

“We are talking about the main roads, such as Oliver Tambo road in Samora, Ingulube, Sheffield, New Eisleben, Amsterdam, Japhta Masemola, New Eisleben and Govan Mbeki roads, where taxis drive daily. All the roads in Philippi are disaster,” he said.

Mthura challenged the City to take the motorists serious and treat them like all the drivers, saying they contribute significantly in the country’s economy.

“Why, as taxi drivers we have to fight or protest in order to get our rights. The City knows about the state of the roads in our townships but it decided to ignore it,” he stated.

The City’s Mayco Member for Transport Felicity Purchase said White Hart Road ( the Kosovo main road) is scheduled for rehabilitation in the current financial year. “We are waiting the award of a tender for road resurfacing and ancillary work, which is currently still in the appeal period,” she said. “We are also waiting the approval of the January adjustment budget to supplement the capital funding requirements for this project.”

Purchase said the road between Weltervreden Parkway and Eland Road will be rehabilitated. “It should be noted that we didn’t have a suitable tender in place nor a capital budget for this project in the previous financial year,” she said. “If all goes according to plan, without any delays, work will commence in March or April 2021. In the meantime, the local depot will continue with interim pothole repairs.”

Purchase said the City projects planned for the Philippi area for this financial year amounted to R 9,5 million, which makes up 50% of the district’s planned budget for resurfacing in the 2020-’21 financial year.

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