Residents of Mawa Block 8 outside Bolobedu in Limpopo have waited for more than 20 years for their gravel road to be tarred.
For more than two decades, road construction and other basic service delivery were being diverted to other villages. This was as a result of a poorly built road leading to Mawa Block 8. Residents of the village had to use a more than 10 km D3200 gravel road to access their homes.
“We have been begging the Limpopo Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure department to tar the gravel. This is we could be able to get access to many things,” said angry resident, Rhulani Mashao.
Mashao said they hadn’t received any response while other surrounding villagers were being developed. Basani Sithole, a 52-year-old resident said the gravel road is also affecting Tlotlokwe and Mawa Block 9 villages.
Sithole said most business people are reluctant to bring their businesses to their village because of the bad gravel. “We can’t develop our community. The economy is diverted to other villages. Another village even got a shopping complex which was meant for us,” Sithole said.
Sithole said that petrol stations are also being taken to other villages that have better roads. “Our village is completely neglected. We don’t have better public transport. Transport owners only give us scrap vehicles and give other villages better vehicles,” Sithole said.
“A tarred road will boost agricultural activities and productivity. It will also improve mobility and save time, this will increase the domain of rural livelihood beyond the rural production boundary,” he said.
Some of the villagers said they plan to protest if the gravel is not tarred. Karabo Rammutla (48) said the gravel becomes worse during this time of the year when it has rained.
“We don’t get proper service delivery. Public transport doesn’t come to us, ambulances and police take time to reach our village and this must end,” said Rammutla. “We are traveling a long distance to get bread from our neighboring villages surrounding us.This is a disgrace and a shame to us all,” he said.
“The government wants us to vote and once we’ve voted we are being forsaken. We no longer get what we were promised and it’s like the service delivery has got eyes,” said Rammutla.
Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure spokesman Joel Seabi said they are aware of the D3200 gravel. “The gravel forms part of roads that have been submitted to the Roads Agency Limpopo (RAL). Currently the department and RAL are facing financial constraints and no new road upgrades will be done, unless additional funds are allocated,” said Seabi.