The picturesque Voëlklip cliff near Herold’s Bay in George has become the scene of tragedies after a number of car accidents have taken the lives of four people this year alone.
The latest crash took place in February and saw two 75-year-old women lose their lives.
In January, a 34-year-old woman travelling with her two-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son careened down the cliff.
The woman and her daughter died in the crash, with the son managing to jump out of the car before it went over the cliff.
After this accident, some community members felt the road should be closed. Others believed barriers along the bend in the road would suffice.
At this point, road signs were put up to warn motorists about the dangers ahead.
The road had been declared safe for public use by the Herold’s Bay Ratepayers Association and the Western Cape department of transport and public roads, provided drivers exercise caution.
The nature of the road closure debate was further complicated due to the site running through private property.
The cliff is also a scenic viewpoint often frequented by tourists.
As such, a task team was created by the George Municipality, consisting of the Department of Environmental Affairs, Western Cape department of transport and public works, the ratepayers association and the owner of the property.
The task team proposed doing remedial work which was approved by the provincial authority, but the municipality was unable to allocate funds because the road is on private land.
Cue insurance company Dotsure in George, being one of its largest employers.
The company reached out to acting George municipal manager Michelle Gratz and head of the task team and George fire chief Neels Barnard to offer financial assistance.
And as a result, on 3 March more than 50 permanent 1.8m poles were erected along the Voëlklip road curve. Large rocks have also been placed at the informal parking area by the task team, which has also seen many tragedies.
“Many of our employees and partners make up part of this close-knit community and have been personally affected by the incidents at Voëlklip Road – this is extremely close to all of our hearts,” Dotsure CEO David Roache said .
“We’ve always believed it is our responsibility to give back to our communities, so when we heard about this initiative we jumped at the opportunity to provide assistance.”
“Although the Voëlklip Road does not fall under the authority of the George Municipality, ongoing safety concerns resulted in the municipality facilitating the task team to investigate and implement remedial action,” Gratz said.
“We are very grateful to Dotsure for its generous donation which allowed the identified remedial work to take place.”