/ 4 July 2023

Mpumalanga village’s disappearing roads

Phola Park Roads3 Extra Large
Many streets of Phola Park village in Mpumalanga look like this. (Warren Mabona)

Roads in Phola Park village near KwaMhlanga, Mpumalanga, are in a dreadful state. Its nameless (unsigned) gravel roads are eroded, deeply rutted and potholed, with tall grass on the verges. Cars get stuck in the mud.

“The municipality must fix these streets because we cannot live like this,” says resident Vusi Ngodela. He has to negotiate the bad road every day to get to work.

Never mind driving a car down them, the streets are barely passable on foot says a resident. “There is always mud and big holes on most of our streets,” says Analisha Mthimunye.

She said visitors with cars can’t even get near the residences of the people they want to visit.

Sandile Mbozo, who works in construction, says he struggles to push his wheelbarrow when doing work for people and it has negatively affected his business.

Simphiwe Mashiyane, spokesperson for the Thembisile Hani Local Municipality, said heavy rains in December last year had eroded the surface of the roads.

“Road maintenance is being fully implemented with emphasis on regravelling, patching of potholes, cleaning and clearing of existing storm water channels,” said Mashiyane.

New stone-pitched storm water channels would also be constructed, but Mashiyane did not give any timelines.

GroundUp visited on 5 June and again on 28 June. We could not detect any visible sign of road maintenance.

Mashiyane said a number of the municipal vehicles had broken down and this had affected the pace of the work.

“We cannot work in Phola Park and fix all the roads and streets in one day,” she said.

This article was first published by GroundUp