by ‘ODIDI MATA-SIGUDLA
“Where do I start when I talk about the road? Because when we talk about the road, we talk about
something that does not exist,” Wandisile Dingana, a local mechanic from Vukani, says with a
dejected, far-off look.
Dingana sighed when speaking to Grocott’s Mail. “You fix the cars now and again, we’re talking about bolt joints, shock absorbers. If you take your car for wheel alignment today, it will take a day or two for the potholes to hit it out of alignment. We have no roads in Grahamstown” he said.
Ward Nine in Vukani is home to people like Neliswa Selani who have lived here since 1993 when
construction of houses, plumbing and roads first started.
The paved road in Vukani never reached anywhere near Myoli Street, which is the busiest street, particularly for learner transport.
Grocott’s Mail visited the street on 14 February to get residents’ reactions to the news that Makana municipality had failed to spend R21.6 million in public funds that was earmarked for roads and other infrastructure.
Selani said the community of Vukani had even discussed the poor roads in a meeting where Executive Mayor Yandiswa Vara was present.
“I was the one to ask them to come down with their cars and see if they can drive on this road, but they never came” said Selani.
These roads are worse than potholed
Nikiwe Phaphu recounts a story about how some cars have almost crashed in the deep ditch in Myoli Street. She had to assist the drivers by gathering young men to push the cars out. “The road is in no condition to be used,” she said.
Selani offers a last statement. Discouraged she says: “I don’t know, I don’t know what we must do.”
“They are killing us”
Vukani resident and religious leader and Makana Citizens’ Front Milo Geelbooi said there is only one functioning road in Vukani.
“The only road that is ok here is the paved road. All the other roads are bad, especially the roads that run between the houses. You cannot drive on those roads at all on rainy days. People have to leave their cars at home. The dirt roads leading off Raglan Road are particularly bad. Yet there is R21.6 million for roads that the municipality failed to use! Why did the muicipality not use that to fix our roads?” Geelbooi asked.
He added that car drivers from Vukani had to change their shock absorbers and tyres almost every month because of the poor condition of the roads, which also affected the front suspension on vehicles.
(At the time of publishing, Makana municipality had not responded to questions from Grocott’s Mail. This story will be updated when comment is received).