Roads, Storm water drains, Road signs and Road markings

Audit of Cosmo City Ward 100

On the 29th May 2014 Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) together with the Ward 100 Committee member for Local and Economic Development, Tebogo Molefi conducted a blanket audit on roads, storm water drains, road signs and markings in Cosmo City.
The purpose was to establish the extent of the damaged roads in the wards.
Mr Lawrence Maseko Regional Operations Manager (Region C), whose office is inundated with similar complaints and concerns from other parts in the region, brought with him a high level delegation which included the Depot Manager, Assistant Managers of Planning and Maintenance, Assitant Manager Roads Signs and Marking, the Foreman, Inspector and Project Engineer. The Ward Committee in Cosmo City was represented by Tebogo Molefi (LED), Lybon Ndou (Transport) and Pinky Ncikana (Health). The ANC Transport Sub-committee together with the two SANCOs in the area were invited and constituted the Audit Team during this working exercise.

The JRA was established by the City of Johannesburg in 2000. Its mandate, reviewed in 2012, can be summarized as the design, construction and maintenance of roads and road infrastructure and from this mandate, the JRA priority goals vary from year to year as informed by the IDP, the Mayoral priority and the GDS, among other legislative instruments in the City of Johannesburg.
Notwithstanding past service delivery marches, Mr Maseko stated that due to the extent of the damages of the roads in Cosmo City, JRAs maintenance budget may not cope with the fixing of all the roads as some will basically need to be reconstructed from scratch. This process will therefore be capital extensive and there is a need to request a dedicated budget. However, JRA will continue with its maintenance where possible but other problems will have to be done once a budget request has been approved by the City.

However, JRA has undertaken to fix the potholes which resulted from similar water tables in the area. The other common finding which the audit team experienced is that the roads have been badly constructed and do not meet some of the JRA road standards and specifications. As a result some of the sections of the roads / streets in Cosmo City have been washed away during the heavy rainy seasons and this make those street to be extremely dangerous for all road users. All the problematic areas which are well known in Cosmo City were visited by the team and assessed and analyzed by the experts.

Ward 100 Councillor and the community

There have been some calls for the Ward 100 councillor, Mme Nonny Raphatha, to step down. The calls have been from various people who represent interests groups in the Ward. The more recent march in Cosmo City has been another platform from which demands for her to step down were made. Various accusations were labelled at her by the march participants as could be read from the placards they carried.
There are many versions of accusations directed to her which reached our office as well, like not attending residents meetings, selling land, not creating jobs, not doing much for the Ward and so on, including harassing street vendors.
Although there are some demands that are being put to the councillor, one wonders if the residents are not exceedingly demanding things that are outside her control. For example selling municipal land is not an easy thing to do as it would involve acquiring title deeds. Some construction work that is happening in and around Cosmo City is being done by private contractors who are not bound by any law to employ people of anybody’s choice. The interest groups that have sprung up in recent years in the Ward have risen in number and in her own defence she says “some representatives of such groups have a mistaken belief that I should attend each and every meeting that they organize” she points out. “If I attend they are happy and shower me with praises and if I do not then I am not carrying out my duties” she complains.
There are some legal protocols that must be adhered to before some things happen. It would be good for residents to start by doing a little research for themselves before asking the councillor to be involved. There are various Ward committee members who were voted by residents to assist the councillor; one would like to believe that they are more inclined to attend discussion meetings as they are the people on the ground. A re-look in what interest groups, including resident committees, real need from the councillor is crucial to maintaining the ward and to keep stability and progress in the Ward. She cannot be attending every meeting that discusses brain storming topics if there ward committee members to assist her. Her term of office will end in 2016 if the groups vote her out.
Memos sent to the City Council Speaker are another way of seeking re-address in matters involving the councillor. Let us all approach our civic obligations with reason and humility.

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