Residents on the fence about roads repairs

Joe Slovo residents say a project to fix sewer pipes has been an inconvenience.

A civil-engineering project in Joe Slovo is for the good of the community, says Ward 4 councillor Wandisile Ngeyi, but not everyone sees it that way.

City contractors have had to dig up the road at the intersection of Freedom Way and Democracy Way to carry out repairs to underground sewer pipes.

But Sibongile Kofi, of the Phoenix Ratepayers’ Association, says the work is really about keeping water clean for the “rich people of Milnerton Ridge”.

Sewer blockages in Joe Slovo and Phoenix in the past have led to raw sewage overflowing into the stormwater drains and ending up in Milnerton streets and Milnerton Lagoon.

Mr Kofi said he was tired of hearing a generator humming all hours of the day and night.

He said the project had started in January and should have taken three months; instead it had now entered its eighth month.

“For a good seven or so months, there was this loud humming of a generator at all hours of the day.

“We could hardly sleep, and my heart goes out to the kids that live in the area, as it must have been a nightmare especially when they had to study for the June exams,” said Mr Kofi.

The generator has since been removed and the residents say there is a bit of silence for once.

One lane has been closed during the road repairs, and Joe Slovo resident Themba Nokwe complained that there had been countless near misses between cars and taxis at the intersection.

“Every day, you find taxis and private cars at each other’s throats there. Things have been made worse by closing off one side of the road to allow for this project to continue.

“Kids that go to Marconi Beam Primary School are at risk because they have to cross that intersection when they are going home,” he said.

Noncedo Mtshali said the purpose of the project was unclear to her.

“I see them digging every day and working there, but I don’t know what is happening.

“I wish we could get explanations before projects like this are given the go-ahead,” she said.

Mr Ngeyi said the project should have been finished by June, but the winter rains had delayed it.

He said he had met informally with the Phoenix Development Forum over the noise issue to explain how important the project was.

He said the Freedom Way road surface was now being tarred and fresh road markings would be painted soon.

“This project is intended to lessen the load of sewerage in Milnerton Central, Joe Slovo and Phoenix that has been caused by the overwhelming increase of the population of Joe Slovo Park,” he said.

Albert Bobotyane, of the Joe Slovo Crisis Committee, said they had no problem with the project. “This is something that had to happen in order to get our pipes fixed. We understand that roads needed to be closed and generators had to keep running but that is the small price we had to pay if we want this issue sorted out.”