Let's try again to fix it

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The dangerous pothole-infested D3715 Road has been the cause of numerous fatal accidents over the past few years and, after yet more “shoddy work” last year by the previous contractor, motorists and residents of the area are crossing their fingers that Mazaxa Construction and Projects will do a better job of it this time around.

Another R30 million was set aside to fix the D3715 Road and the project had been divided into two phases. The tender for the first phase of the project (3.5km), was awarded to Mazaxa Construction and Projects, and work commenced on 17 January this year. This phase, costing R8 million, is expected to be concluded by the beginning of April this year. The first phase involves the road between Madabani and Madodonga.

The remaining R22 million goes into the second phase of the project, which involves the five kilometres from Madodonga to Tshikhodobo.

On 7 December 2020, Limpopo MEC for Public Works Dickson Masemola set aside R11.5 million for upgrading the D959 and D3715 roads. The appointed contractor, Makasana Construction, started work in February 2021, but only three months into this six-month rehabilitation project, construction ground to a halt, only resuming in July 2021. As motorists’ frustration mounted, the road was “unofficially” opened for motorists in August (2021). However, within weeks of being upgraded, the D959 Road (with a R8 million repair budget) started to disintegrate.

During a meeting with the traditional council, taxi association and different community structures at Muduluni Community Hall on 14 October 2021, Masemola said that planning would start immediately, so that the work could be done within the current financial year. The rehabilitation process was supposed to have started in October 2021, but did not. Masemola further promised to use 5% of the project’s budget to hire local contractors to work on the road.

In the meantime, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) was called in to investigate the circumstances around the (bad) construction of the D959 road leading from Louis Trichardt to Makhado Air Force Base. Makasana Construction, who is in a joint venture with Vashumi, was ordered to go fix their sloppy work on the road and, on 20 November 2021, started to remove the crumbling layer of tar with a grader, and on 23 December the road was rehabilitated and opened for motorists again.

The Sinthumule/Kutama Crisis Committee chairperson, Mr Elijah Liremi, said he hoped that, once completed, the rehabilitation of the road would finally help to ease the traffic flow. “We are also delighted that our people are employed during this period of construction. There is also the issue of skills transfer, which will enable some of the workers to stand on their own after the project,” he said. Sixty workers from different villages around the Sinthumule/Kutama area had been hired by the contractor.

Liremi urged road users to cooperate with the contractors at all times until the project is completed. “This project is ours, and it is important to adhere to the safety instructions at all times. This will give the contractors ample time to finish their work uninterrupted and without any disturbances.”

Mr Livhuwani Ramadi, a taxi driver from the area, said that the news of the road’s rehabilitation sounded like sweet music to his ears. “We have been complaining several times about the bad state of the road we use on a daily basis, but we are happy that our pleas did not fall on deaf ears. The improved roads will extend the life of our vehicles and it will reduce the number of road accidents,” he said.

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