Residents along Moloto Road demand a date for development of rail corridor in area
Pretoria - Residents along the notorious Moloto Road are persisting with their demand for a date to be set on when the development of a rail corridor in the area will begin.
According to Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, R4.5billion had been allocated over five years for Moloto Road to be upgraded, including the rail project.
He said the road had already seen the training of 135 SMMEs and 185 NGOs from Thembisile Hani Municipality to improve their chances of participating in the project and in the construction industry in general.
However, Sam Masango, who recently led a group from Mpumalanga to protest at the Union Buildings, said they wanted the project to start without delay.
The group included residents of the Mpumalanga municipalities of Thembisile Hani, Dr JS Moroka and Elias Motsoaledi.
They demanded that the rail corridor promised to them years ago be implemented without further delay.
“We understand that Minister Mbalula announced that the Gauteng government has handed its portion of Moloto Road to the South African National Roads Agency, but to us all that means nothing without a date and a time by which the project will start.
“To date, all they have done as part of the road upgrade are eight traffic circles in Thembisile Hani Municipality. Phase one was supposed to take place in the Gauteng section, but they refused to hand it over during that time they were still fighting for e-tolls.
“We are not excited by anything these people announce anymore because Moloto Road continues to claim lives.
“Since August, 68 people have died on that road. Investors do not look at that road and see good infrastructure to bring investments to Mpumalanga.
“We even ended up protesting at the Union Buildings demanding the Moloto Rail Corridor because it could show investors a reliable road infrastructure and mode of transportation, however, that project too is yet to take off.
“That is why we say until the government tells us on which day and at what time should we go to Moloto Road to see work start, we will believe nothing.
“They only make these announcements when they see people protesting and once people settle down, they move on with their other business,” said Masango.
The residents also said they would shut down the road as they were tired of delays in the building of the rail corridor.
According to them, the lack of rail was forcing them to use taxis and buses, which were not safe.
“We were promised a railway as far back as 1994,” said John Skhosana Ka Mahlangu from African Civic.
Moloto Road stretches 160km and connects Gauteng with Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
It is used by about 60000 people daily, most of whom work in Pretoria.