Road on the recovery

OR Tambo Road in Imizamo Yethu being repaired and resurfaced by the City of Cape Town’s roads department.

The roads in Imizamo Yethu are being repaired, much to the delight of locals, who only hope the repairs will last.

Last week, the City of Cape Town’s roads department headed into IY and got the first part of the repair and resurfacing project under way in OR Tambo Street.

Joseph Mtoboli from IY collects and dumps rubble for a living and says he has lost count of the amount of times he was required to repair his bakkie and tyres.

“Some of the potholes are huge, one day there is no pothole and tomorrow there is a huge hole in the street. Some of the areas also have bad lighting, so it’s hard to see these holes,” he explained.

Upon spotting the City’s team hard at work on the roads, Mr Mtoboli said he was happy and hoped it would remain repaired.

“You always find the roads giving in or parts of the road breaking away, but the City must do the job properly and not put a plaster over a bleeding wound,” he said.

Another resident said the repairs to the roads was “long overdue”.

Siyanda Ndube said the amount of potholes forced vehicles to swerve and drive recklessly on IY roads.

“There are many taxis and vehicles driving through here and sometimes, they are driving at such a speed, they swerve very fast around these potholes,” she said.

“God forbid one day they lose control of the car and something bad happens. But hopefully now things will get better as the roads are finally being fixed.”

IY community leader, Kenny Tokwe, said they are learning to cope with the development of the roads in their community, but there are still challenges which could lead to the roads being damaged again.

Mr Tokwe explained that many residents are still throwing water out onto the street and this is one of the many reasons the roads deteriorate.

“Mandela Road next to the police station is always affected. We need to find out this water challenge and education is needed around raising awareness of the people misusing the drains and throwing water out onto the street,” Mr Tokwe said.

He further called on the City to continue working closely with block committees and community leaders in order to ensure that “everybody is on the same page”.

“We have to educate the people living in this community, because yes, the City is repairing the roads and they are unblocking the drains, but we have to think about educating people so that they don’t have to come out and keep repairing things,” Mr Tokwe said.

A few years ago, a site inspection was conducted and IY was one of the areas identified by the City to receive urgent repair work on their roads.

According to the City of Cape Town, the reason for the long wait was due to a backlog in Hangberg, IY and the valley.

The backlog was resultant of two factors: the national shortage of asphalt and secondly, the ongoing roads depot closures due to Covid-19 throughout last year.

Ward councillor Roberto Quintas confirmed that the City experienced more than 1 800 Covid-19 positive cases in 2020.

“The two causes of the backlogs are largely resolved and I have been driving a repair and resurface campaign for Hout Bay with the departments in order to remedy the issues ahead of the rains which will prevent works for a few months,” said Mr Quintas, who has also been discussing alternative materials for road repair and resurfacing.

“I am hugely in favour of concrete roads, which although are more expensive, are more durable and easier to maintain and are not as easily affected by greywater, which eats heavily into tar due to ongoing dumping and blocking related sewer and storm drain spillages in Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg,” he added.

Although the City has made good headway since the turn of the year, Mr Quintas believes they still have some catching up to do.

“We still have some catch-up to facilitate and I encourage residents to log or call the City of myself with complaints regarding problem areas, as we cannot fix what we don’t know is broken,” Mr Quintas said.

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