Top rank where commuters fight it out with rats

Nthabisang Moreosele

Nthabisang Moreosele

Germiston has one of the best run taxi ranks on the East Rand. It is certainly better run than the massive taxi rank at Noord Street in Johannesburg.

The queue marshals cope well with the thousands of passengers and the hundreds of taxis that go in and out every minute.

They make special arrangements to accommodate the hawkers who take their wares to Johannesburg and Florida. There are hardly any altercations.

But that is all that can be said in the rank's favour. The rank is absolutely filthy. It is unbelievable that human beings use it daily without succumbing to disease and that no plague has yet been reported.

The dirt is everywhere. It is ground into the tar. There are piles of rotting vegetable matter on each block. Layer upon layer of old paper and cardboard are now part of the road.

When it rains the rubbish turns into a slimy, dangerous slush. The water and oil mixture on the ground transfers to passengers' clothes. The spots won't come out even if one uses that pink stuff that removes stains.

It is not surprising that few people on the East Rand wear bright colours.

There are rats the size of kittens that revel in the pickings on offer. They think the rank is theirs and they forage for goodies right in front of people.

In the mornings passengers have to jump over their squashed bodies as they go to their queues. There is roadkill everyday.

It is just a matter of time before animals higher up on the food chain move in to feast on the rats. It is a frightening thought.

As for the vendors, they set up their stalls next to the rubbish. They ignore the rats and flies. Passengers buy the food and throw peels and wrappings where they stand. No one seems to care about the environment or their own health.

The filth extends to the other streets in what is the "black" side of town. The street sweepers stick to the streets where the municipal and Ekurhuleni Metro offices are.

I wonder in whose ward this "black" area falls. I doubt the councillor has visited the area in a long time. He cannot be proud to represent a ward this filthy.

Someone should take him by the hand and introduce him to his ward and the people who live and work there.

Perhaps if the taxi associations working in the Germiston rank named the rank after him, he would then get off his chair and organise a massive clean-up campaign. He could also try and educate passengers about health, hygiene and the environment.

The place needs a thorough going over before some disease springs up from that rubbish tip.

If the councillor is not careful, the people of Germiston will name the disease after him. Children will sing ditties about his negligence. And then he will be immortalised as the king of filth.