The traffic jam has followed me home. Since December cars start bottling up about 500m from my gate. What used to be a 20-minute journey now takes a solid 35 minutes.
There are more and more cars on the roads and our tiny main road has now turned into a busy feeder road as people battle to find alternative routes to work.
My neighbour says a lot of people buy cars with their bonuses. But these go back to the car dealers in April or May when the upkeep becomes too steep. So we can expect the traffic jam to ease up a little towards winter.
I suppose that the metro cops have a plan to ease congestion on the roads. But the many bottlenecks created by roadworks all over Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg add to the chaos. Most days the gridlock starts at the end of Mayfair-Fordsburg and extends right to End Street and the Joe Slovo off-ramp to Ekurhuleni.
The M2 East is also a stop-go nightmare. Huge trucks going to KwaZulu-Natal clog the highway. They do not keep to one lane but race each other across all four lanes of the highway.
One seldom sees the metro cops shooing them into one lane. The traffic cops come in great numbers only when there is a minor accident. They then close off two lanes while taking down the details of the drivers. To add to the delay, one or two fire trucks will raucously come charging in in case there is a fire. There usually isn't.
The amazing spectacle is what occurs right in the heart of the Johannesburg CBD. When the cars come to a standstill, then taxi drivers swing into action. I have seen them countless times unravelling a bewildering grid in the one way streets of Jozi. They do it very well too.
There are stubborn private car drivers who refuse to listen to the taxi drivers. They refuse to move aside or to take alternative routes. One day while watching several taxi drivers directing traffic between Sauer and Jeppe streets, the road was cleared except for one tiny car whose driver insisted on his right to take the route of his choice.
When I pointed him out to Auntie Emma, she told me that many drivers do not know the city. They and their cars follow the same route every day, just like a faithful horse takes its master home.
Some of them have never studied a map and cannot get themselves from A to B just using their common sense. They blindly stick to one route.
Auntie Emma says men do not take their girlfriends for a romantic drive anymore to learn the roads because of the price of petrol and crime.
Our taxi driver then told us that most people follow taxis to town even though taxis take detours to off-load passengers.