Piet Retief Dam embankment = new dumping ground?

The Piet Retief dam embankments, located across from the Mkhondo Taxi Rank in Brand Street, look dreadful and are in need of immediate attention.

Upon a quick visit to the Piet Retief Dam embankments, it was evident that many pedestrians as well as the owners of informal businesses, such as the hawker stalls located there, are using the once beautiful landscape to get rid of their waste materials.

Between all the heaps of rubbish, you will see numerous items such as glass bottles, diapers, building materials, motor parts, plastic bags, polystyrene food containers, cardboard boxes and other non-biodegradable items.

You will also notice that there are a few spots where fires were started. Should all those waste materials catch fire, it could create a very dangerous situation for the businesses in that area. There are oil spills on the ground, as a lot of informal mechanics operate in the area too and dump the oil from vehicles right there. Vehicles are also being washed there on a regular basis. Because of all the pollution, the area even has a bad odour to it.

The  pollution causes oil, rubbish and soapy water to all end up in this dam. The water from the dam flows into the Assegaai River which runs all the way to the Kingdom of Eswatini (Swaziland). This means that these harmful substances are not only affecting the people directly surrounding it, but even the residents of the Kingdom of Eswatini who depend on the river for water.

The pathways surrounding the dam are a popular shortcut for pedestrians, but they are filled with broken glass and is a hazard for those who use it to get to work, school or that part of town.

The problem is not only the heaps of rubbish and the dangerous pathways, but also the fact that the plants and trees on the Piet Retief Dam embankments are overgrown, untidy and out of control. Since these Piet Retief Dam embankments are on municipal grounds, is it not their responsibility to ensure that it is maintained and the area kept clean?

A solution to this problem might be to put a fence around the dam and make it a “no hawkers allowed” area. Fines should also be given to the people who are disobeying the law and dumping illegally.

Have we no pride in the way we live and treat our environment anymore?

This is an absolute shameless state of affairs and we urge the Mkhondo Local Municipality to take action at once.


Taxi rank madness

There’s nothing more frustrating than playing “dodge-taxi”. We’ve all had the privilege to see the streets of Mkhondo utilized to their fullest potential, but is it always a good thing?

Never mind the condition of Brand Street, nor the dam’s embankment running alongside it. When focussing on the Mkhondo Taxi Rank itself, you will witness loads of overcrowding and informal businesses. Upon further investigation, it was found that taxis operate from 05:00 in the morning until 19:00 in the evening.

Piet Retief Mkhondo Taxi rank madness
Taxis lining up outside in the street

According to the South African Black Taxi Association (SABTA), our taxi rank is maintained and controlled by three different taxi associations and apparently they all have different rules and regulations, yet all are utilizing the same taxi rank. The Mkhondo Taxi Rank has been the scene of violent crimes, it’s filthy and not very well maintained. Is this due to poor management?

When trying to contact some of these associations for more information regarding this matter, it was found that some contact numbers didn’t operate. They were not available for comment due to a lack of contact information on their part.

The taxi rank itself is overcrowded, forcing other taxis that want to gain entrance, to park in the roads encircling the corner of this parking space, which then leads to other vehicles getting caught in dangerous conjunctions with traffic. We invite the different associations of the Mkhondo Taxi Rank to respond to the allegations that the grounds are overpopulated.