Frustration with official neglect of Mdantsane’s economic hub has united the Highway CBD’s business community.
Business owners and street vendors have teamed up with taxi owners and drivers, and they are doing their best to patch the potholes that damage their vehicles every day.
The fed-up community accuse the metro of neglecting their complaints about appalling roads, leaking water pipes and broken toilets, leaving the area filthy for months on end.
Speaking to the Daily Dispatch last week, taxi driver Archie Magoswana said: “Last year, BCM announced in the newspaper that they were launching a war on potholes but we never saw them patching in Highway. Every day we have to fix shocks, brakes and [front] suspension, which is costing us thousands of rands.
“We have reported our grievances at the municipal office in NU6 but we are told the roads in Highway do not fall under BCM. Now we don’t know where else to go.”
Taxi rank controller Lindile Tuze said as a result of the neglect “we are now trying to do it for ourselves”.
“Previously, we just put soil in but that would soon be removed so now this week [last week] we asked the drivers to go around and look for dumped tar from other projects around the city and bring it here so we can fill the big potholes.
“It’s old tar and we don’t know how long that will last. In return, we pay the drivers by giving them a full load of people – that is the only way we can pay them,” said Tuze.
When the Daily Dispatch visited the hub last week, the taxi drivers’ work could be seen on some streets, although the busy main street, Sandile Road, was still looking ravaged. The damage could be attributed to car wash businesses that operated on a road only meant for traffic flow.
Another portion of the road was damaged by a flow of water from broken toilets that wasted thousands of litres over months.
The flowing water has left deep trenches in the road, making one of the lanes coming into the CBD completely unusable for motorists.
“The government is always telling us to save water but look at the damage they’re doing.
“We report these things and they never take any action.
“Maybe it’s because we are black people living in the township that they don’t care about us. They probably attend to the suburbs’ complaints when it comes to potholes.
“We want to know why we are treated like this when we are also paying citizens,” said Magoswana.
Following questions from the Dispatch, BCM spokeswoman Bathandwa Diamond said the matter had been referred to the relevant department for action. She said Mdantsane residents could call (043)705-9861 to report leaks and potholes, and (043)705-9912 to report potholes.
“The city has plans for developing the area into a fully-fledged business hub with the multimillion-rand Mdantsane Urban Hub project,” she said.
However, Diamond said the biggest problem at the Highway area was vandalism, with people stealing copper pipes and taps.
“The city urges all stakeholders using the hub to safeguard it and inform the metro when repairs are needed,” Diamond said. — mamelag @dispatch.co.za