Repair White River’s roads before more lives are lost

Anthony Benadie MPL

Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga

Public works, roads and transport MEC Dikeledi Mahlangu must prioritise the repair of the R538 Plaston road before more innocent motorists’ lives are lost on White River’s rapidly deteriorating roads infrastructure.

The DA was shocked to learn of two incidents late Saturday when motorists lost control of their vehicles after hitting the massive pothole on Citrus Road near BuCo and the sad death of one. The pothole formed about a week ago due to the heavy duty magnetite hauliers using this road as an alternative route since the R38’s virtual destruction.

The White River community has for some time been concerned over the damage the heavy trucks have been causing the town’s roads, and an amicable solution has yet to be found. But, while both the municipality and provincial government are part of the talks, it still has a mandate and a responsibility to local residents.

To this end, the DA calls for the following:

• To ensure the safety of residents and preserve the local infrastructure, the Mbombela municipality must immediately ban all heavy duty vehicles from using municipal roads through town, diverting them to provincial roads – and deploy traffic officials to enforce this ban.

• The municipality must repair the pothole in question, and deploy warning signage warning motorists of the dangerous conditions.

• The Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport must immediately start repairing the R38 Plaston Road, and not wait for negotiations between itself and the mining company to conclude before doing so.

• The department must also deploy warning signage along the R38, warning road users of the poor road condition and increased number of heavy vehicles.

The deteriorating roads are but only one of the concerns of the increased heavy truck traffic through the town, as residents now have to cope with traffic snarl-ups, an increase in prostitution and crime in general.

The DA is highly concerned of reports of private citizens wishing to take matters into their own hands, and fear for the safety of everyone concerned. We therefore call on all of White River’s residents to remain patient and to not worsen the situation.

The DA will write to MEC Mahlangu impressing the urgency of the matter on her, and address the matter in our interactions on the necessary portfolio committee until the situation has been resolved.

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