By Blessing Mabunda
Locals have blamed government’s inability to fix potholes as the major contributor to a fatal crash on Sunday, 02 August 2020, in which at least 3 people lost their lives. The deadly crash involving a truck and a Toyota Quantum along the D3738 Giyani road between Xawela and Nkomo villages has shone a spotlight on poor service delivery in the area.
The accident which left 10 passengers seriously injured, took place when the driver of the truck laden with river sand allegedly lost control of the vehicle which swerved into the opposite lane and collided head on with a Toyota Quantum carrying 13 passengers. Police say, all passengers were immediately taken to Khensani Hospital with serious injuries where two passengers and the taxi driver succumbed to their injuries. The truck driver was not injured.
Giyani View learned that it’s a norm for D3738 road users to swerve around to avoid potholes on the notorious road. Some motorists even resort to using the donkey’s cart gravel road parallel to the non-existent tar road which has seemingly gone to the dogs.
“When driving on this road, you need to be extra cautious because it’s highly impossible for road users to keep left and pass right. We duck and dive to avoid potholes,” says John Ngobeni, one of the regular D3738 road users.
Following the crash on Sunday, hundreds of D3738 road users took to Giyani View Facebook page to blame the failure of the government to fix the road.
Giyani View can confirm that the road is replete with potholes and is practically a death-trap for road users. The road has been in a shocking state for years now. Simply put, potholes are an extreme danger to society. Apart from damaging cars in many ways; wheel alignment, tyres and damage to rims, the more serious harm they can be attributed to is the harm inflicted on passengers, drivers and pedestrians.
It is safe to say that majority of the roads in Giyani are fraught with potholes, yet there are no warning signs alerting motorists of the perilous terrain that lie ahead. People say that the experience one endures when embarking down those roads is worse than a terrible ordeal.
Road users bemoaned the absence of simple warning signs to the driver to be more careful and vigilant, which could go a long way in preventing the damage that could be caused when the motorist drives with the impression that there are no obstacles ahead.
In January 2020, Chief Mahumani was seen in a video calling for the powers that be to intervene by fixing the road after a number of vehicles were involved in accidents on that stretch of road.
At least in December 2019 alone, about four people lost their lives on the same road due to the alarming number of potholes.
In March 2020, former MEC for Public Works and Infrastructure, Dr Monicca Mochadi, told Letaba Herald that the Department is fully aware of the importance of a good road network infrastructure for Limpopo province.
“Road Agency Limpopo (RAL) over-committed itself to more than a hundred projects which will require billions of Rands to complete. The provincial government does not have the funds to meet all the needs at the same time.
“This requires all of us to work together and to exercise some level of patience as we deliver roads to every corner of the province. Road D3840 has been placed on the priority list and the department is aware of the concerns of the community,” she said.