- Camdeboo Municipality
- South Africa
OFFICIAL PETITION TO THE CAMDEBOO MUNISIPALITY AND THE CONSTRUCTION COMPANY
The people of Nieu Bethesda now demand the immediate opening of the Bethesda road that has been under construction for some months. For too long now, we have had to listen to empty promises from the contractor and our council representative.
This road was supposed to be completed by the end of March 2010. Yesterday (9 June 2010) we were informed by employees of the construction company that despite a Ministerial order they will only open the road( “maybe”) after two more months claiming that the road is not safe since there are no guard rails on the mountain. It is clearly just another excuse being used since only 15km of the road is finished and it is easier and cheaper for them not to regulate one way traffic while they are constructing the remaining 7 kilometers of the road.
The construction company also undertook to maintain the alternative route. Asked yesterday why the road is in such a bad state they replied that they are contracted for the whole Eastern Cape and that it takes 6 months for them to complete one round of scraping all the roads and it is not cost effective to relocate their machinery to scrape this section of our road- once again a breach of contract which is ignored by our City Council.
The town and its people are suffering - Nieu Bethesda is dependent on tourism and our nearest socio-economic hub is Graaff Reinet:
Tourists do not wish to navigate a longer road that is in an appalling condition. The road under construction had already been closed last year over the Fugard Festival, all school holidays and long weekends – our peak tourist visiting times. Businesses reported a 50 % drop in earnings.
In an already mainly poor community, it is ridiculous that our people need to pay up to R300 for a return trip to Graaff Reinet. We have no public transport and most residents do not own vehicles. Damage to vehicles on the alternative route already runs into thousands of Rand. Recently one resident had 3 flat tires in one day.
Most residents have children in boarding schools in Graaff Reinet- some of these children cannot come home due to the additional cost. For the rest of the community, every journey to their places of learning or workplace is longer, more expensive and dangerous on the alternative route.
This road was supposed to be upgraded as one of the 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament projects. The soccer will be long gone and forgotten before the City Council or contractor deliver on their promises. The generally dismal performance of the Construction Company and City Council is cause for serious concern, particularly when measured against the huge sums of money spent and the very slow progress of the work.
For too long now, the people of Nieu Bethesda had been deprived of their rightful access to the shortest route to Graaff Reinet.