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Accident on Victoria Road in Pietermaritzburg leaves six school children injured

By Zama Myeza

The vehicle carrying six schoolchildren allegedly went through an intersection on Victoria Road without stopping, resulting in an accident.

police tape
File image.

The Victoria Road business community is enraged at the ongoing lawlessness and lack of traffic control, after six schoolchildren were injured in an accident on Tuesday morning.

It is reported that a vehicle carrying six schoolchildren went through an intersection in Victoria Road without stopping, resulting in an accident which left the six children injured.

According to business owners and community members in the area, another three people have been hit by speeding cars on Victoria Road in the past week.

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The main concerns that residents and business owners have raised is that the road has no road markings, which makes it difficult for motorists to navigate driving in the lanes.

Many traffic lights along the road do not work, in particular, the ones outside the entrance to the Pick n’ Pay centre in Victoria Road, which has resulted in many accidents in the past.

Concerns have also been raised about the numerous potholes scattered along the street.

Colin Simpson, who works at Pro-Tect Turbo Chargers in Clough Street, just off Victoria Road, and who witnessed yesterday’s accident, said speeding motorists are a constant issue.

Clough Street is a one-way street, but we are constantly having issues with cars speeding down our street in the wrong direction. This problem extends to cars speeding down Victoria Road. Just yesterday [Tuesday], I witnessed an accident at the traffic lights outside Victoria centre. The traffic lights aren’t working and a vehicle, carrying schoolchildren went straight through the intersection without stopping.

“This is endangering children’s lives, as well as everyone else who uses our roads. We urgently need the NPC traffic department to step in and do their jobs, before more people are injured. Are we waiting for people to die, before anything is done?” Simpson asked.

Ward 27 councillor, Dante Kemp, said the recent accidents were cause for concern, coupled with the lack of response from the municipal roads department.

“The roads department has failed numerous times to attend to the problems on Victoria Road. I’ve reported to the roads department numerous times.”

Unfortunately, officials don’t respond or acknowledge and continue to ignore the issues. I have noted areas in Boom and Peter Kirchoff roads, where road markings are incomplete and left for weeks before anything is done. Those officials who are failing to ensure the safety of their customers and residents need to be held accountable.

“We cannot be experiencing such problems, especially when they pose a danger to all,” said Kemp.

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Keep Pietermaritzburg Clean Association (KPCA), as part of its ‘Victory for Victoria Road’ campaign, conducted a survey on the street in June. KPCA said the survey results shows that, besides municipal service issues, security concerns ranked as a priority issue for businesses along the street.

“KPCA encouraged businesses to start a street watch security group. This was launched a month ago and grew quickly to 70 members consisting of concerned businesses, security companies and even some SAPS members,” said Lara Edmonds of KPCA.

There have also been recent concerns raised by residents on Victoria Road of drag racing that takes place on the road at night.

“We have been monitoring issues on the group and are very concerned by the incidents directly related to traffic infringements. These are exacerbated by a lack of traffic police presence, no pointsman during load shedding and poor road markings. We have also heard several reports of drag racing at night,” added Edmonds.

Ntobeko Mkhize, the spokesperson of the Msunduzi Municipality, said they are working on resolving the issues in Victoria Road.

“A team has been deployed to do an inspection in Victoria Road with the aim of swiftly responding to the concerns raised by the community, particularly in relation to pothole repairs and the fixing of faulty traffic lights, which are critical in ensuring the safety of road users.

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“We also have started repainting road markings in the CBD; the programme will be rolled out to residential areas as well. We urge the public to report such issues to the municipality through the call centre by calling 0800 001 868,” said Mkhize.