The FF Plus has repeatedly pointed out the dangers linked to the condition of the route between the ore mines in Kathu and Postmasburg on the one end and Port Elizabeth on the other end of the long road transport link.
On 22 February 2021, a young woman from Orania narrowly escaped death when an ore-truck skipped a four-way stop and collided with the side of her vehicle. She was admitted to the hospital in Kimberley with a broken pelvis.
This ore route creates a myriad of problems. Numerous trucks travel between the respective mines and the shipping depot at the harbour in Port Elizabeth on a daily basis. It is rumoured that trucks are quite often overloaded, but the absence of provincial weigh bridges on the route makes it difficult to prove.
The FF Plus has requested in the past that the weigh bridges owned by farmers and agricultural companies should be accredited for the purposes of law enforcement. Seeing as these bridges are used to determine these companies’ income and expenses, one can be assured that they will be accurate and properly maintained.
Another way to monitor the load transported by these trucks is to require that loading certificates must be produced at the mines and the harbour for law enforcement purposes. It appears that there exists some will to find a solution to the problem, but not in the circles that matter.
Although the overloading of trucks cannot be proven at the moment, the evidence – the damaged condition of the roads – is there for all to see. The many potholes have caused several serious accidents.
And all the towns along the route are also affected by the crisis brought about by the transportation of ore.
What makes Orania exceptional is that cameras were installed at the four-way stop street and now the reckless behaviour of truck drivers is on record. Various meetings with the relevant law-enforcement agencies have been cancelled on short notice.
Communities in the Northern and Eastern Cape are justified in asking whether their safety carries any weight in the authorities’ eyes when compared to the interests of transporting ore by road – something which is ideally suited for transportation by railway.
This also begs another question: Are these risks to ordinary people’s lives merely an epilogue to the chapter of state capture and mismanagement at Transnet.
Read the original article in Afrikaans by Dr. Wynand Boshoff on FF Plus