THE site of the proposed R50-million taxi rank on Hendrik Verwoerd Drive and South Street in Centurion is in a terrible state. Thobile Mathonsi African News Agency (ANA)
THE proposed state-of-the art taxi rank in Centurion is still on track, unless geologists decide otherwise.

This was the reassurance from the councillor for the area, Peter Sutton, who dispelled rumours that the construction of the facility on the corner of Hendrik Verwoerd Drive and South Street had been cancelled.

Rumours had been circulating among Centurion residents, commuters and operators that the construction of the R50-million taxi rank had been scrapped.

Adding to these is the state of the construction site. A large chunk of the dilapidated perimeter fence is missing.

The surrounding fence was in a shambles yesterday. It had been stripped of the poles holding it up and litter had been scattered everywhere. Beer bottles, decaying fruit and the stench of urine and human faeces are evident at the new taxi rank site.

Taxi associations and concerned commuters said they had become convinced that the planned construction had been turned down. A taxi driver operating at the rank opposite the site said he had concluded from the state of the site that the project had been stopped.

The construction of the rank is a partnership between Redefine Properties and the city of Tshwane. On completion it will have numerous shelters, taxi holding areas, offices, route lanes, informal trader stands, public toilets and free wi-fi.

Plans for the facility started 20 months ago when the old taxi rank had to make way for a corporate building and was moved to an open field across the road.

Both operators and commuters have complained about the conditions they have had to endure over the past two years at the temporary site, including a lack of ablution facilities.

They said there was a terrible stench because people had no toilets and they had to contend with unbearable dust as a result of unpaved ground. Commuters have been forced to wait for taxis in the open, irrespective of the weather conditions.

They complained of the lack of security at the temporary facility, and they expressed fear that criminals would make the taxi rank their playground.

Pleading for a formal structure that was well organised to ensure their safety and general well-being, they said they required better services as they went about their business.

“The show is still going on, and we are forging forward with the construction of the new taxi rank. We owe our people a dignified way of travelling. The rumours are not true. The rank is here to stay,” Sutton said.

However, he did highlight the possible presence of dolomite in the area. He said geologists were busy investigating the area for possible dolomite that could cause sinkholes. “Centurion is very diplomatic, so they need to ensure that the land is builder-friendly and fix some technicalities,” he said.

As for the dilapidated state of the site, Sutton said the area had witnessed a spate of vandalism and theft in the past two weeks. He said it was reported that perpetrators carrying generators and grinders were terrorising the area. “We have decided to hire security guards once proper construction commences, which is likely to be early next year,” said Sutton.