RESIDENTS of an impoverished community in the Malamulele area have accused the government of failing to fix a dilapidated local road for years, thus putting their lives in danger.
The gravel road, which links Mbalati and Dakari villages in the Thulamela Municipality, has a cracked underground bridge which has left cars exposed to steel and open holes.
Disenchanted locals like Risenga Baloyi claim local councillor Simon Mathebula has failed to honour his promise to have the road repaired.
The road is the main access point for public transport between the two villages.
Baloyi (61) claimed Mathebula has been promising to have the road re-built each time they complained but this has not been done.
He said he and other Dakari residents were so angry with local ANC leaders and the municipality that they have decided to field their own independent candidate for the August 3 local government elections, if the road was not fixed immediately.
Another resident, Patrick Valoyi, said they met a fortnight ago to plot the way forward after the municipality and the provincial ANC government “failed” them for the past 20 years.
He threatened to vote with his feet.
“We are not going to tolerate what is happening now and our vote this time will be different” said Valoyi.
He said the community wanted to act before any lives could be lost due to the terrible state of the road.
Winners Masiya (40), a former ANC member, said he lost confidence in the ruling party after serving in its structures for 15 years because the party failed the people.
“Why should we fight when we are looking for service delivery when our vote is our most important weapon? They have ignored our plight” said Masiya
Mathebula said he was aware of the community’s grievance but denied ever promising to fix the road.
He said he could not have made such a promise because the road belonged to the Limpopo Department of Roads and Transport, not the Thulamela Municipality.
Mathebula said he has since asked the province to fix it because he was equally concerned.
Thulamela Municipality spokesman Ndwamato Tshila declined to comment, saying the road belonged to the provincial government.
Limpopo Roads and Transport Department spokesperson Kagiso Mootane referred all enquiries to the provincial Department of Public Works.
She said that department was responsible for the road infrastructure.
Paena Galane, spokesperson for the Public Works Department, said he would comment after investigating whether indeed the Dakari/Mbalati road belonged to his department.