Taxi operators bring township to a standstill over potholed roads

This comes two years after people last protested for the roads to be fixed in Maqongqo, Pietermaritzburg

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Taxi operators in Maqongqo, Pietermaritzburg, blocked entrances to the township to demand that its potholed gravel roads be fixed. Photo: Nompendulo Ngubane

Taxi owners and drivers in Maqongqo, Pietermaritzburg, brought the township to a standstill on Monday, demanding that its potholed roads be fixed. The protest started for a second day at around 3am on Tuesday.

In 2019, taxi operators and community members also protested for the D1000 and the D1026 gravel roads to be fixed.

On Monday, taxi association members blocked the road with their vehicles. Communal operators, including scholar transport, were not allowed in or out of Maqongqo. Many people were seen walking out of the area.

KwaGcina Taxi Association chairperson Mphe Ngcobo said the poor condition of the roads causes frequent damage to their vehicles.

“The community is frustrated. The conditions have worsened. Drivers have no choice but to leave passengers far from their destination. Commuters are left far from the clinics. They travel long distances while carrying groceries. We don’t like that, but we are forced to avoid these roads,” said Ngcobo.

Resident Zinhle Mabaso said they supported taxi association members. Mabaso relies on taxis to get to work. “Taxis can’t drop us off near our homes because drivers are always complaining about the roads,” said Mabaso.

Ward Councillor Nhlanhla Zondo said the department would soon close the holes on the gravel roads as a temporary solution.

“They promised that in August they will start the process of tarring these roads. Department officials have agreed that there have been delays with fixing the roads due to the pandemic. The design of the road has been completed. They need to come and address the community on the developments,” said Zondo.

Meanwhile, taxi operators on Tuesday said they would continue blocking roads until MEC Peggy Nkonyeni comes to address them.

The provincial transport department had not responded to our questions about the road construction at the time of publication.

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TOPICS:  Transport

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