In spite of several written promises by the department of roads and transport in Limpopo to give urgent and immediate attention to the road between Bela-Bela and Thabazimbi which is in a major state of disrepair, absolutely nothing has yet been done to improve the shocking condition of this road.
Road P20/1 is the main arterial between the mining, commercial and industrial areas of Thabazimbi, Northam, Brits and the Limpopo province as well as countries to the north.
According to letters written by the members of the Private Estates Forum in Bela-Bela residents are very upset about the condition of the road which has deteriorated to such an extent that it is 5, 2 meters wide instead of the norm of 7, 2 meters on roads of this nature.
“This borders on criminality, bearing in mind the very heavy traffic and especially the high volume of very heavy vehicles on the road,” said Mr Pieter Raath, chairman of the forum.
According to information in letters written to the department the road is in an appalling condition with the base course having failed completely in the first 20km from Bela-Bela, resulting in dangerous potholes and edge breaks.
Many fatal accidents have occurred on the road and the Bela-Bela community is concerned that more serious accidents are bound to occur as passenger vehicles are being forced off the road by heavy vehicles in wet and rainy conditions as they try to stay on the road or try to avoid potholes.
This will undoubtedly lead to civil claims and possibly criminal charges against the department in view of the long and well-documented history of this issue, said Raath in one of the letters.
Copies of the letters have not only been sent to the department but also to the premier of Limpopo and the MEC for roads and transport.
On 23 November 2006 (nearly six years ago) the forum received a letter confirming that “the Road Agency Limpopo (RAL) is aware of the condition of the road and will attend to this as soon as budget permits”.
On 26 May 2010 the department stated in yet another letter to the forum: “Due to the rate at which this road is deteriorating, the department found it necessary to include this road in the 2011/2012 plans for completing the remainder of the works despite these challenges.” (The department was referring to limited funds and other priorities of the province and the department.)
The department also informed the forum that the MEC for roads and transport, at a meeting confirmed that construction work would commence early in the financial year.
“It is now well into this financial year and nothing appears to be happening. We sent e-mails to both the department and the MEC on April 18 with a follow-up on June 5, 2012 to enquire about the progress, but have had no reply,” said Raath. — LiN Nuus/Die Pos