MOTORISTS driving on Komani’s streets are crying foul over huge potholes and the money they are spending on vehicle repairs.Winisile Maqosha from Mlungisi said the condition of the township’s streets had deteriorated over the years and were neglected by Lukhanji Municipality.“I have changed my tyres twice already in the past few months. It is as if we are getting used to driving on such bad roads. I do not know what will happen before the authorities to wake up and do something about this.”
Cyclist Rocco Nel said the potholes were a nuisance.“The potholes are all over town and lead to damaged wheels. You can sustain a serious fall if you are not concentrating when cycling. The roads need to be resurfaced. It is not only for the potholes to be filled up as that is temporary.”Worker Mziwekhaya Stuurman uses his bicycle daily to travel to work and said on certain weeks he had been forced to walk as a result of damage to the bike.“The condition of our roads is poor. I have taken my bicycle for repairs five times.”
Top Town motorcycle owner Jordan Potgieter said he had replaced his front tyre twice this year.“Almost every street in Komani has a pothole.”
The pothole-ridden roads compelled DA councillor Zuko Mandile to complain to The Rep recently (“DA condemns state of Komani roads” May 13).Mandile said some potholes, including those in Victoria Road which leads up to the Nonesi Mall, were up to 30cm deep and 2m wide.“The budget allocated for infrastructure must be utilised by employing the right people who have the capacity to fix the problem. The municipality needs to have a plan and set targets on how they will fix this.”Komani had been identified as the eonomic hub of the district which was positive, he said, but asked: “Which business will invest in a town that has poor infrastructure? This is not something the municipality is taking seriously.”
He had a personal story to tell.“I had a puncture after I hit a pothole. Some of the accidents in town are due to potholes. Nonesi Mall was a joy for Lukhani when it was built, but if you look at Victoria Road, how can you take a person, who would like to have a business, to the mall when you can’t even drive there?”
Taxi driver Abongile Goxo described driving in Victoria Road as excruciating. “The streets are not taken care of, they fill the potholes with soil and after a few weeks, it is washed away. I have had to change all four of my tyres this year and each tyre has cost me R600.”
Missing stop signs and faded road signs were adding to the crisis, with Daniella Grimm, who was recently involved in a car crash, saying that many street signs were damaged or missing and had not been replaced.
The road markings had also faded in sections.
Mechanic Cornelius von Cullwitz said his business has been frequented by clients whose vehicles had been damaged by potholes.
“I do a lot of suspension work which is mostly caused by the road, all those components underneath the car take a beating from the road,” Von Cullwitz added.
Border Kei Chamber of Business Municipal liaison officer Jack Nhlapho said bad roads were a big contributing factor to accidents.
“Funding must be sourced as a matter of urgency and there must be a commitment to do what needs to be done to rectify the matter . Some roads are already past the point where they can be resurfaced. They will need to be reconstructed. When business decides to invest in a town they look at the state of the town in general. I am afraid Queenstown would fail the ‘general’ test,” he said.
Lukhanji has, in recent statements to The Rep, indicated that a plan was in place to fix roads but a media briefing set to include related discussions was postponed last month.
Questions were sent to municipal spokesman Fundile Feketshane who replied: “I have stated to you that we shall respond to this during the media briefing and kindly