MARAPONG — Marapong Housing residents took their frustrations to the intersection at Relebogile Street on Monday evening to demand speed humps be built on a busy entry road to Marapong.
On Sunday evening 14 May, 31 year old Siya Mcela Mgadi was killed by a Toyota Yaris as he was reportedly crossing the road to his residence.
According to an eye witness, the driver allegedly kept changing his story. The onlooker, who asked to remain anonymous, said the driver initially said he was driving at 80 km/h before changing his story and accusing the deceased of having walked in front of his car. It is furthermore alleged that the irate crowd wanted to torch and beat up the driver before police intervened.
Tension arose when the hearse arrived to remove the lifeless body of Mgadi. Some of the crowd wanted to see his body but their request was denied.
The following day residents barricaded the road with stones and burnt wood near the bridge at the conveyor belt to Matimba Power Station. They said they were tired of accidents claiming lives near their residence.
In addition, they requested the intervention of Ellisras Local Taxi Association to instruct taxi drivers to drop housing residents near the security gate at the compound and not on the busy road.
Before police arrived on the scene, traffic built up from both directions from people entering and exiting Marapong who desperately tried to pass the barricaded area, believed to be the spot where Mgadi was killed.
Employees in minibus taxis and busses from Medupi were seen being transported across the fortified Matimba yard at around 20:00, in a convoy of about 2.5 km long; while motorists on Relebogile Street parked next to the road and observed the disruption taking place. Near Marapong complex there was a crowd of people, cars and taxis at a standstill, as they tried to find out if the road was safe to use.
The concern about Marapong having only one exit road was raised.
Some residents allege to have got home at around 23:30 as their transport, mostly 22 metre busses got stuck and there was insufficient space for them to reverse and go back.
When police arrived, there was a large convoy of vehicles from the intersection. Several defiant protesters told police they would return the following day. They emphasised the need for speed humps as “motorists drive like they are on the freeway”.
Ward 1 Cllr William Motlokoa said though he understood the concerns of protesters, he doesn’t support the disruption they caused by throwing stones. Motlokoa said the road is not Municipality’s responsibility but the district’s, however that doesn’t stop the municipality from stepping in.
“We cannot just build speed humps without consulting Public Works, who will tell us what radius compliance is before giving us the go ahead. We need to work with them to see what we can come up with. In the meantime, people must understand what the prerogative of the local municipality is and where it mediates”; he said.
He advised housing residents to stand together and ask their companies who are involved in the construction of Medupi to work with Public Works to install robots there so that there is effective traffic control.