“We will not pay for fines on damaged windscreens and tyres, as they are caused by potholed roads,” these were the words of taxi operators during a protest on Wednesday.
About 100 taxi operators from Eastern Leolo Taxi Association (ELTA) marched to the Fetakgomo Tubatse Local Municipality (FTLM)’s civic centre to handover a memorandum of demands.
The protest was also joined by members from South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco), taxi owners, and the national taxi co-ordinator Malose Joe Modisha. The protesters are complaining of the terrible conditions of the D2537 (Old Penge Road) and D5140 (Praktiseer to Bothashoek).
“Our daily routes mainly used are the ones crossing Ga Motodi cross using Praktiseer and Bothashoek to join R37 coming to town.
“We also use the Old Penge road joining R555 to Burgersfort. These two routes are in a bad state, the tar is no longer visible, there are potholes which look like dams, our taxis are always on breakdown and have punctures, “said ELTA’s Secretary Prince Maluleke.
The association also demanded that the local taxi rank be revamped.” Our taxi rank is in its worse condition, there is no proper shelter, no proper office. We don’t even have ablution facilities and our commuters are always at risk.”
The association also complained about the lack of traffic officers during peak hours. “There is no visibility of traffic officers and SAPS officers during busy days and hours. We therefore plead with the office of the mayor to ensure our demands are addressed.”
SANCO’s Putiputi Mokgakala said the FTLM was ignoring the demands of the public. “The top positions at our FTLM are occupied by people from the former Fetakgomo Municipality, this must be addressed. We want people from the former Tubate municipality to also lead the FTLM.”
The memorandum was accepted by acting mayor Magatane Mamogale, he assured the protesters that the document will be delivered to relevant authorities.
ELTA gave FTLM 21 days to respond to their demands. Sekhukhune Times understands that last month, The MEC for public works, roads and infrastructure, Namane Dickson Masemola, assured locals that the pothole-ridden roads in Tubatse would be fixed. The MEC said two contractors had already been appointed for the construction.