huge Potholes hit businesses
Businessmen, taxi drivers and other motorists say they find it difficult to cope with damaged roads in Mpumalanga but the provincial department of roads and transport refuses to unveil its plans to save the situation during this financial year.
Raymond Sibuyi, who owns several shops in the Mkhuhlu area, says even though he drives a 4x4 bakkie, potholes are really a problem. He says the poor roads are affecting his business because bakeries are refusing to deliver bread to the shops located "in these danger zones".
He said he drove his vehicle into a very large pothole along the main road in Mkhuhlu township leading to one of the biggest hospitals in the Bushbuckridge region, Matikwana Hospital.
"Shopkeepers are forced to drive their trucks and bakkies to meet bakery trucks at the T-junction joining the Hazyview/Kruger National Park so we can buy bread for our shops.
"The bakery drivers are refusing to drive through the potholes," said Sibuyi on Saturday.
"This is economically straining us because at the end of the day we lose nearly all the profit to fuel," said Sibuyi.
On Saturday, we took a drive on the road through which ambulances pass on their way to the Matikwana Hospital. It has long and deep potholes.
Another road with a number of potholes is the Barberton/Badplaas road.
"I don't know why these roads are not repaired while we pay taxes," said Ishmael Moreku, a taxi driver from Badplaas.
Provincial transport spokesperson David Nkambule refused to answer questions or to refer Sowetan to people dealing with roads.
"I'm telling you I cannot answer that question on the phone," said Nkambule yesterday.
MEC Jackson Mthembu referred Sowetan to the office of his personal assistant, Luke Sandlane, who was not available when we called.
Many taxi drivers have also approached Sowetan about the shocking state of roads in the province. They want the department to do something fast.
Tourists are also affected, especially those visiting the Kruger National Park because the road leading there is also heavily potholed.
Last month, Sowetan published a story that showed the department was in a financial crisis because it had exhausted its budget for the 2008/2009 financial year.