Two days after the Daily Voice published an article entitled “Gatvol Street”, where residents of Highlands Estate complained about a road riddled with potholes, the City of Cape Town acted quickly to flatten the road.
However, residents are not satisfied with the grading of the gravel road done on Saturday, 4 June, which they say is a “quick fix” until the next rains cause more gatte.
And they are demanding tar roads.
Last Tuesday during peak hour, a group of over 50 community members blocked off Olieboom Street in protest to show motorists what they have to drive through on a daily basis.
Residents say they have been waiting for 20 years for the municipality to build them proper roads.
Widaad Samuels says: “They did come on Saturday to grade roads but this grading thing does not last.
“When there is a bietjie rain, then the potholes come back again. Right now you can ride on the road but it is not going to last. That is why we are asking for them to come tar new roads here and not just this quick fixes.”
City spokesperson Luthando Tyhalibongo clarified that the road is in the Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA), a semi-rural zone with gravel roads – and not a tar road in disrepair.
He said the roads are graded twice a year, usually before and after the winter rains.
“This had been scheduled for April but had to be postponed due to a machine breakdown,” he said.
He said a grader started work in Highlands Estate on Saturday and work continued through the weekend and during this week.
Tyhalibongo added that some of the gravel roads in the Athlone district will be upgraded to asphalt surfaced roads over time. Gravel roads with the most traffic are prioritised for upgrades.
“Ideally, the new roads should be constructed once the underground services such as water and sewer mains have been installed,” he said.
Five roads have been constructed in the Philippi area since 2017 at a cost of R12.2 million, he added
However, Widaad says residents are aware that their neighbourhood falls within the horticultural zone, but this has been the same old excuse for 20 years.
“The decision to protect the PHA was taken without considering the boundaries of existing residents like Highlands Estate,” she says.
“The community of Highlands Estate is calling on being excluded from the boundaries of the PHA so we can receive services.”