Mixed emotions over roads upgrade

The current roads will be getting a facelift.

A staggering R22 million has been set aside by the City of Cape Town for the upgrade and rehabilitation of several roads in Gugulethu.

As the neighbourhood marks its 60 anniversary, the City revealed last week that appalling streets such as NY112 and NY116 would get a massive facelift. Other streets include NYs138, 139, 144, 145, 146 and 155. The roads were constructed by rigid concrete in the 1960s. The construction work is expected to start in the coming weeks.

The project, to be undertaken by the City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority (TDA), comes months after the area witnessed one of the most unpleasant scenes, where residents, mainly backyarders, went on a rampage demanding vacant pieces of land.

However, the move has also been questioned by the Gugulethu Development Forum (GDF). It accused the City of not consulting the residents. The forum said it had no idea that the City planned to embark on the project.

In a statement Mayco member for transport and urban development, Brett Herron, said the total stretch is 2.1 km. As part of the upgrades some of the roads would be widened. “We will also build new side walks, and importantly, speed humps will be installed along these roads to slow down traffic.

“The measures will go a long way in improving the safety of pedestrians, in particular the most vulnerable road users such as children and older people,” he said.

GDF chairperson, Samora Nompunga, said they were not against the development of the area, but they felt there were more pressing issues. He said the recent protests showed that there was a need for houses. He called on the City to go via proper channels when developing the area.

Mr Nompunga said the GDF would write to the City to register is disappointment.

Mayoral committee member for area central, Siyabulela Mamkeli, said the upgrades would prevent the roads from being flooded and increase the roads’ longevity and improve the driving conditions. He said the initiative would also provide employment opportunities for local people and businesses. Material will be purchased from local suppliers.

Resident, Nokuthula Mlamuzeli, said streets had been in a poor and depressing state for years. Ms Mlamuzeli said as much as she appreciates the development of the roads, she had hoped that the government first address the issue of houses and backyarders.