SANRAL is concerned about safety risks for users and communities after encroachment of illegal hawkers and land invaders along busy road.
The upgrading of the R573 Moloto Road brings jobs, training and opportunities to local businesses in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo. Yet progress has brought challenges with it.
The 139km stretch of road is one of South Africa’s busiest and most important economic routes connecting the three provinces.
Encroachments, in the form of land invasion and informal businesses close to the road reserve, cause disruptions and put the safety of road users at risk.
SANRAL has partnered with local municipalities and consulted local traditional authorities to try to address these issues, but the problem persists.
The agency had embarked on a roadshow to educate stakeholders on statutory control issues and the allocation of tribal land to communities.
Lerato Mothapo, Statutory Control, and David Thubane, Land Acquisition Officer from SANRAL, work on the project, and for them it’s an everyday battle to try managing the issues.
Thubane said: “Trading inside the national road reserve and the increasing number of shacks at intersections, especially near Phola Mall, are major challenges. This matter was brought to the attention of the Thembisile Hani municipality for intervention. Unfortunately, the resolution of these issues is not happening as required.”
While setting up informal businesses close to the road may seem convenient, it creates a safety hazard. Consumers run the risk of being hit by fast-moving cars when crossing the road.
According to the SANRAL project managers, the agency is fully committed to community development and supporting local business.
However, it cannot risk the lives of others and be at the mercy of illegal hawkers. SANRAL appeals for full co-operation from communities and stakeholders, more those encroaching on the road reserve and ignoring building restrictions or planning to do so, to follow proper procedures in acquiring land.
The agency, together with the provincial and local authorities, plans to accommodate these traders in areas off the road reserve in much safer spots.
Thubane said: “Local communities are asked to respect beacons placed by surveyors indicating the national road reserve. Headmen/chiefs are requested not to allocate stands inside the road reserve.
“In the areas where a road reserve is not shown or demarcated, they are encouraged to liaise with the route routine manager (RRM) or SANRAL representatives for assistance.”