Had the Gauteng department of roads and transport upgraded the dangerous D1900 Reier Road in Kameeldrift, an elderly man would not have been hospitalised for 40 days with broken limbs and ribs after being hit by a motorbike.
Elias Van Der Colff, 82, a long-distance athlete, said he was doing his usual training on the gravel road in Kameeldrift when the accident happened.
He has not been able to run marathons since.
Wearing his South African colours blazer for walking 5 000km, Van der Colff said he had normally trained on the 3.3km road. But due to the rocky and dangerous gravel road, a motorcyclist in 2016 lost control of his motorbike when his vision was blurred by the thick dust, and crashed into the elderly man busy training.
“I was unconscious for three weeks and stayed in hospital for 40 days. I had to learn to walk again. But I can’t compete any more in any marathons or competitions. I suffered a head injury, broken shoulder, ribs and pelvis. Now I take walks around my yard because the road is too dangerous.”
Two years later, Van der Colff joined many residents and business owners disgruntled by the state of Reier Road in blaming Gauteng roads and transport MEC Ishmail Vadi.
In a meeting held by the residents, business owners and the DA’s Taemane constituency head, Adriana Randall, at Kievits Kroon Hotel on Friday, residents complained that they often caught illnesses due to the poor condition of the road, which has even affected animals, employees and clients.
The stretch of road is covered with big stones and humps that are poorly visible, and is used by speeding motorists during peak hours, causing heavy clouds of dust.
The Kievits Kroon Hotel’s white walls are covered in brown dust while staff members have to don dust masks when performing their duties, facility manager JD Kleinhans told The Citizen.
Speaking while coughing, resident Mudau Nthatheni said even pedestrians could not use the road.
“It’s a high health risk. I have been sick with sinuses and flu. We always have to leave the windows of the house closed,” he said.
Last year, a contractor was awarded a tender by the Gauteng department of transport to upgrade and improve the storm-water drainage system. But in January, the contractor had only added a few centimetres to elevate the gravel road, never to be seen again, the DA’s Randall, said.
“This area is rich in tourism potential. There are safety impacts here. We need to know which contract was awarded and the value. I will also be writing to the Auditor-General to alert him of this. It seems provincial government is using the wrong contractor. There were no quality control nor lab tests done,” Randall said. – email@example.com