The Democratic Alliance is extremely saddened by the tragic news that seven people from the Holfontein informal settlement have allegedly been killed and two were critically injured in a road accident involving a speeding vehicle that drove into the pedestrians on the Vlaklaagte road.
This news was received by ward 25 Councillor, Ciska Jordaan, with immense difficulty, especially because the dangers this road poses to the residents and pedestrians in that community has been reported time and time again to several local stakeholders since early 2019.
Since it’s been reported, speed limit signs had finally been erected on this road. However, local traffic law enforcement has been pleaded to increase its visibility on this road to avoid contravention of speed limits, to no avail.
The roads department of the Govan Mbeki Local Municipality was approached with the request of installing speed humps on the road. To no one’s surprise the department reported that they do not have the funds to install speed humps and suggested the installation of ruds. Since this is a provincial road, the Mpumalanga Department Public Works, Roads and Transport would have been requested by the municipality to do so. To date there has been no positive feedback of the request to the department.
Due to the lack of action from the municipality and the Provincial Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport it was offered from a mining house that a small project was approved to install the ruds, following extensive discussion with the community and other relevant stakeholders in the area. However, they have been unable to receive approval from the Department Public Works, Roads and Transport. Again a request was made by the councillor towards Govan Mbeki Local Municipality to assist with the receipt of a written approval that would allow the mining house to proceed with the project. This request was made on 12 August 2019. Regrettably, it was never heeded.
Perhaps the most heart-wrenching fact is that community members and leaders from Holfontein have repeatedly implored that they do not want to wait until a tragedy happens before doing something to protect residents from speedsters on this road.
It is bewildering that assistance and feedback requested with regard to matters that are often of urgency towards the safety and security of our people should always be extracted with the utmost of efforts or are otherwise ignored, while things like vehicles and bodyguards for ANC politicians are prioritised when the municipality cannot even afford to keep itself afloat.
Not unlike other communities in the municipality, this community remains neglected and unheard by the Govan Mbeki Municipality despite continuing efforts to make their concerns heard.
The DA intends to escalate the matter to a provincial level to implore decisive action in improving the safety of pedestrians on the Vlaklaagte road.
- Ciska Jordaan