Motorists avoid the speed bumps built by residents on the M20 (Doreen Avenue) in Soshanguve, claiming they are too high and dangerous for cars. Picture: Bongani Shilubane / Independent Media.
Pretoria - The Department of Roads and Transport has assigned traffic engineers to investigate the need for speed bumps on the Soshanguve M20 - Doreen Avenue - after residents hijacked trucks and forced them to surrender concrete, which they used to build the traffic calming measures.

The community’s action was fuelled by a hit-and-run accident in which Emanuel Zimba was hit by a taxi. He was admitted to Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital.

The residents then hijacked construction vehicles and took the concrete which they used to build the speed bumps. But despite their good intentions, the bumps have been described as “ridiculously high and unsafe” by motorists and passengers.

Ward councillor Enos Chiloane said: “I held a community meeting on Sunday night in Extension 3 and told the community these speed bumps were too high. The bumps had the potential to also expose motorists to crimes at night because they need to drive slowly around or over them.

“I know for sure that my own car cannot drive over those bumps and there are many other motorists who feel the same way.

“I also spoke to community leaders to inform them that either we will have to lower the structures or government will have to build appropriate bumps.”

Chiloane said he was aware that the road was notorious for accidents that harmed mostly innocent pedestrians, and that most of the time the culprits were taxi drivers.

He said he understood the community’s frustrations because children and adults had to cross the M20 from the Nkandla informal settlement to go to school and work.

“The problem with the taxi drivers is that they do not obey the stop signs on this road.

“It is easy to see that they do not stop because you will find that a pedestrian was hit at a very high speed at a point where the stop sign is less than 5m away.”

Backed into a corner

Community leader Solly Masanabo said: “From the beginning we made it clear that we took the decision to build the bumps because we were backed into a corner, where we had to do what we thought was right for our people.

“We were also tired of officials telling us that the road belonged to provincial government while others say it is the responsibility of the City. We needed to act.”

Masanabo said MEC for Roads and Transport Dr Ismail Vadi was welcome to task his team to remove the bumps. However, they had to introduce some form of traffic calming measures on the road.

Taxi drivers Simon Magagula and Clifford Madinga also told the Pretoria News the speed bumps were much too high.

Motorists Kgomotso Manabo and Kgomotso Malatjie said that while it was important to have speed bumps, the ones built by the residents were not good for their smaller cars.

Another motorist, Oupa Mazibuko, said: “This is too much for a speed bump. If you have a car you will never build something like this.

“The government must intervene and find a solution that will benefit both the drivers and residents.”

But a solution could be in sight, after the department’s Lindiwe Nkosi confirmed that engineers would be dispatched to assess the situation without delay."

The Star