13 November 2017 Read: 364
The Ofcolaco fuelling station and shopping complex situated next to the R36 between Tzaneen and Hoedspruit seems to have been forgotten by the management of the Maruleng municipality. The complex was bought by Leon Steenkamp bought the property at an auction in April this year, the complex was in dire need of a makeover. Criminals plagued the centre with as many as two break-ins a week reported.
“Our complex was in complete darkness because of no lightning in the evenings and this made us easy targets for armed robberies,” explained Steenkamp. “We installed spotlights all around the centre and that alone solved the problem of the crime, but now we have another, more serious matter which needs urgent attention.”
Running past the complex is the notoriously dangerous R36 route which serves as the main line for commuters travelling to and from Tzaneen every day. On Friday evenings, traffic volumes reach dangerously high numbers as workers return home for the weekend. There is little to no visible traffic enforcement and the road is known for its extremely high accident rate due to poor visibility in the evenings. High mast street lights were eventually installed on both sides of the road for approximately 200 metre stretches on either side of the fuelling station. These lights were to serve the duel purpose of making the fuelling station visible to motorists, and to curb the number of motor vehicle accidents at this spot.
But, the lights, although installed, were never connected and in the past few years have never served their purpose. With no lights at this busy section motorists are not able to see the speed limit signs or the stray cattle that plague the area. When a motorist turns off to the fuelling station at night, oncoming traffic and those travelling behind the vehicle are unable to see the driver turning which results in accidents.
The Maruleng municipality have ignored numerous messages and phone calls from Steenkamp pleading for them to rectify the matter as a matter of extreme urgency.
“Over the last few weeks I have sent images of accidents to the Maruleng Municipal Manager, Sutane Lethole and their SPED Director, Kensani Sithole in an effort to get some reaction from them. I even had meetings with Sithole at her office where she promised me she would send out technicians to look at the problem. The technicians were here, but the lights stayed off and that’s where it stopped,” explained a frustrated Steenkamp. “Lethole requested that I provide him with proof that having no lights on this road is in fact a risk. This after I sent him countless images of horrific accidents!”
At the time of going to print, Bulletin had not made contact with the Maruleng Municipality. We have compiled a media enquiry on the matter and will report on their comment in our next edition.