More rage about the roads

The recent article ‘Bad roads threaten rural communities’ (4 May, pg 56) has elicited the following reader response.

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Support taxi action

I think that we are nearing the time when everyone has just about had enough of the state of our roads, whether it be the sloppy contractors or the lazy road engineers and inspectors. They are all in the same boat about not doing the work, or not being able to do the work they signed up for.

Just this morning I had a lorry run off the road. Ironically it was to deliver bricks to build staff housing!  According to taxi drivers in Bolo, Mgwali and those who do the Transkei run, if things do not improve soon this could turn very nasty. Whatever course of action they choose I will, for once in my life, be supporting the taxi industry action.
Andrew Bennet, via email

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A job well done
Congratulations to Mike Burgess and Farmer’s Weekly on an excellent article with a well-researched and balanced report.
I can’t, however, read the comments made by Eastern Cape Department of Roads and Public Works district engineer, Mbulelo Sonquishe, so valiantly echoed by Randall Moore, without saying that they are not being entirely truthful when they cite budgetary constraints as the primary cause of the destruction of our roads in this area.

I, like Bennet and others, have been doing maintenance on DR 02810 over the past two-and-a-half years and have been continually frustrated by the very companies which have won the tenders to do road grading and maintenance. This has arisen from the fact that there is absolutely no supervision of these companies or any attempt by the likes of Sonquishe or Moore to inspect the work that the tender winners have done.

For instance, in June last year, a company (their vehicles had the picture of a pennyfarthing bicycle on them) was contracted to grade the roads (DR 02810 and DR 02802) to Henderson. This they did, and promptly scraped ground and gravel into the drainages of these roads, blocking them. As other farmers and I had only just completed repairing sections of the road and improving the drainage, we were naturally quick to impress upon the grader operator on more than one occasion that he should again clear the drainage.

This was not done and the following week’s rains started rivulets in the middle of the roads. As a result of this, the roads have continued to deteriorate. No! I do not believe that it is the budget that is the overriding cause of our bad roads, but mainly the authorities who do not do their work. They do not follow up on the less than scrupulous contractors to ascertain whether the contract is executed satisfactorily! To date, I have not seen anyone inspecting the work that contractors do on our roads and this is threatening communities, labourer’s jobs and wasting our tax money!

Reid Wardle, via email