SASOLBURG. – “The road that runs by Natref is impassable with a multitude of huge potholes. It is unfair to motorists that the Metsimaholo Municipality and heavy industries in the area don’t maintain the road.”
This is the opinion of many readers on social media, who criticise especially Natref and Sasol “as it is mainly their lorries that damage the roads”.
With Sedibeng Ster and Vaalweekblad’s visit to the area we found the road surface at some places so heavily damaged that trucks and lorries can’t get through the potholes anymore and have to drive on the shoulder of the road, creating even more dangerous, muddy dongas.
“We can’t expect the municipality to do everything. Could the municipality not talk with Natref to restore that road?” is the question asked by a reader, Yolanda Botha.
Readers say the road is especially dangerous in rainy conditions as motorists can’t see the many deep potholes. Some readers’ opinion is that the adjacent industries shouldn’t expose the public – and their own employees – to the dangers created by the disintegrating road.
Another reader, Corné Bierman, came up in support of the heavy industries, saying that truck and lorry owners already pay their license fees (R13 000 per truck per year, excluding the trailer or tanker), plus all the taxes included in the price of gasoline or diesel (plus-minus R7 000 per fuel tank). It’s the municipality’s responsibility to maintain roads, not the industries’. The municipality should start doing its job and stop mismanaging funds,” is Bierman’s viewpoint.
Sasol, in response to readers’ complaints, told Sedibeng Ster and Vaalweekblad that it has over the years partnered with local government to help improve the status and quality of roads in Sasolburg and the surrounding municipal areas.
“Since 2012, we have invested over R20 million on road safety improvement around Sasolburg, Vaalpark and Zamdela. This includes the upgrade of the R59/DF Malan intersection, which has resulted in a 60% decrease in the number of accidents along with a commensurate reduction in fatalities from 18 to 1,” says Matebello Motloung, Specialist: Media Relations, Group Communication and Brand Management at Sasol.
“Additionally, over the past two years, Natref has invested R3 million on repairing and resurfacing the road that runs from the four-way stop along Jan Haak to its gates,” says Motloung.
“The road past Natref and the truck stop is a municipal road used by a multitude of users including fuel trucks.
“Drainage in the area is not effective, leading to water accumulation and excessive damage to the road surface. As part of ongoing efforts to find a long lasting solution to restore the road, Natref is engaging relevant authorities to address the situation,” says Mr Motloung.