The residents of Lehae, Slovoville and Fun Valley near Eldorado Pak have taken it upon themselves to man parts of the Golden Highway, which has become dangerous for motorists due to a big, gaping hole on the road.
On Monday, the residents decided to close the road until such time that the provincial and local government repair the road.
The Golden Highway is currently blocked off to traffic between Cavendish Street and R554 Nirvana Drive.
On Wednesday, The Star visited the site of the closure and found a group of residents guarding the road.
Colbert Maduna of Slovoville said they are waiting for a meeting with the authorities to map a way forward.
“It has been a long time that we have been asking government to do something about this sinkhole. Cars have been damaged due to this hole. We have now decided to close the road to ensure the safety of the people and motorists who use this road,” Maduna said.
Maduna said as residents, they have taken upon themselves to guard both ends of the road in order to redirect road users to alternative routes. He said every day since the closure, they arrive as early as 4am and leave late into the night.
“We are here to ensure that we tell affected road users to use alternative routes. This we do to alley their fears and frustrations. We will continue to close the road until something is done to fix it,” he said.
According to the community, a meeting with the officials is scheduled to take place later today (Thursday).
A resident of Fun Valley, next to the Olifantsvlei Cemetery, said the closure has affected schooling of their children, who can’t access transport.
‘’Our children have not returned to school due to the closure of the road, and scholar transporters refuse to use alternative routes, saying it is expensive to do so,’’ the resident said.
Another resident, Nomasisi Molemoholi, said in July, her brother was killed while travelling on the road due to high levels of crime in the area.
“We were told that there are security guards on the highway, but we see people being killed and being mugged everyday. My brother died a terrible death in July due to the high crime rate on this road. Just this morning, a security guard was mugged,” she said.
The Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) urged motorists to use alternative routes and “urge the public to refrain from visiting the site because it may be dangerous”.
This week, residents protested over lack of road repairs before closing the road that passes through the Olifantsvlei Cemetery into Lenasia, Zakariyya Park, Lehae and Vlakfontein, all the way to the Vaal and Orange Farm, among other areas.
JMPD spokesperson Xolani Fihla said the residents blocked the Golden Highway over lack of service delivery.
“Motorists are urged to avoid that stretch of the roadway and to use the N12, Klipspruit Valley Road and R554 through Lenasia as alternative routes,” Fihla advised.