Rietfontein residents in dire straits after road closure and protest

Following the closure of the gravel road adjacent to the Xanadu Eco Park estate two weeks ago, many Rietfontein residents struggled on Tuesday to get to work and some could not get their children to school due to a protest action on Van der Hoff road.

The alternative road on Wednesday after the rain.

The so-called “Pretville road” was closed following a court order obtained by Xanadu.

The road was not only used by residents on the Rietfontein smallholdings but also became an alternative route during the regular violent protests in Van der Hoff road.

“I had to drive a 60 km detour via Pretoria to get to work on Tuesday,” said Jaco Joubert, who is a teacher at the Kameeldrift Primary School. It seems we have no rights if there is a protest. The protestors have all the rights and we have no protection,” he said.

Kormorant received a number of phone calls from irate parents who could not get their children to school. “This is a disaster and something will have to be done urgently to address the situation.”

The protest on Tuesday followed a notice of evacuation delivered to squatters behind the Sunway settlement. According to the security structures, more protests can be expected.

Madibeng ward councillor Claudie Greenwood-Selby and Madibeng representatives visited the area last week to determine what needs to be done to repair the alternative, and currently inaccessible, road.

Xanadu offered to provide a TLB for a limited time to assist with grading the alternative road. “However, a private contractor is not allowed to work on municipal property and we have requested that Xanadu use the offered contribution to pay an approved Madibeng contractor to assist. We do not know yet what the contribution will be. It will however not address the whole road. A land surveyor will now have to assess the road and especially lower areas that flood, to determine where stormwater pipes will have to be installed. Trees and bushes will also have to be removed to change the narrow gravel road to a proper road that will allow for two-way traffic,” she said.
According to municipal spokesperson Tumelo Tshabalala, the municipality‚Äôs roads and storm water division have been on site. “An alternative route was identified last week and plans to develop it to a gravel-wearing course are underway.”