Fields Hill – MEC more intent on saving face than saving lives

Tom Stokes, MPP

Democratic Alliance

The only performance less impressive than provincial Transport MEC, Willies Mchunu’s report to the KZN Legislature last week on the Fields Hill disaster was Romain Poite’s refereeing display!

The MEC had the opportunity to provide real innovative leadership.  Instead he showed a dismal grasp of the issues at hand and a clear lack of control of his department. To intimate that he has only recently become aware of the long-standing cry to close Fields Hill to heavy multi-axle vehicles is admitting that he has no handle on the traffic issues in our province.

To rely on the bogus excuse that closing Fields hill to heavies would prejudice business in Hillcrest and Pinetown also suggests that he has little knowledge of this geographical area. Anybody familiar with the area would know that Pinetown can more easily be accessed off the toll road via Richmond Road and that Hillcrest can be entered and exited via the Shongweni off ramp.  Kloof and Gillitts would be affected but there is so little commercial activity in these residential suburbs that 16-ton heavies would be very few and far between if at all.

It is incomprehensible that the MEC refused to follow the DA’s suggestion to place a six month moratorium on heavies using Field’s Hill to test the real impact, both on the level of accidents on this part of the road and any supposed economic impacts the closure might have.

It seems the MEC was more intent on saving face than saving lives.  It is high time that he “hit the road Jack, ….”