Amalinda traffic lights fuel community hope

The small victory of newly erected traffic lights in Amalinda has been welcomed by residents and councillor Mzukisi Relu, but it is just the tip of the iceberg of problems for the ward 16 community.

The ward encompasses Amalinda, Haven Hills, Winchester Gardens, Highway Gardens, Morningside, Cambridge location, Summerpride and Dawn.

“The traffic lights are much needed there because of speeding motorists travelling along Amalinda Main Road, endangering pedestrians, particularly pupils from Althorpe Primary School whenever they try to cross the roads,” said Relu, who has been the ward’s councillor since August 2016.

The new traffic lights on Amalinda Main Road, pictured from the cycling track on the way to the SPCA near the Amalinda Nursery.
Picture: MARK ANDREWS

“The traffic lights were erected three weeks ago at the four-way stop near Amalinda Nursery and are managing the traffic nicely, because there is a curve where cars come speeding and pedestrians can’t see them approaching.”

Speaking to the Daily Dispatch recently, Relu said although the traffic lights were a small victory, they still had many challenges with regard to housing, infrastructure and municipal buildings being vandalised, including his office.

“There is a lot of unemployment in my ward, but it is no excuse for the criminal activities which are happening here.

“Every day there’s something new, especially here at the Bush Bucks stadium where my office is situated.”

Relu said his personal assistant was stabbed in the hand just a day before the Daily Dispatch visited his office.

The traffic lights were erected three weeks ago at the four-way stop near Amalinda Nursery

“This facility has been refurbished over the last four years, but because it was not properly secured with high walls, gates and security guards, it has been stripped by vandals who have no shame coming to use the venue to do drugs even during the day,” said Relu.

The traffic lights were erected three weeks ago at the four-way stop near Amalinda Nursery

He said they face a serious backlog of houses still to be built and within the ward are more than 4000 informal dwellings that are illegally connected to electricity.

However, everyone should have access to electricity and the municipality’s challenge is that they can’t electrify all of those informal settlements because of where and how they are structured and based.

“For years councillors have been appealing for land audits so we can establish who owns what land and who to approach for the municipality to build RDP houses, but nothing has been finalised. Everything is a struggle in the municipality because they are always outsourcing, and there are bidding processes and tender notices which need to be issued.

“All of this when the data and information is already sitting with the municipality’s town planning department,” he said.

However, he added, there would be 100 houses built in the area in the new financial year.

“Another challenge we have is that in the entire ward we only have a single community hall which is out in the Cambridge township, and people in Amalinda don’t have that kind of facility.”

Relu said the community was hopeful, when the developers of a special needs school had identified the area to build the school, that it would create jobs for the community.

“There is a dire shortage of schools in our community.

“Lukhanyo Primary School is overcrowded and has been operating from a prefab structure. We were excited when we were approached about the special needs school that was going to be built here, but it is said that the divided community drove the developers away.

“The community was fighting over leadership and committees, which created a bad impression, because instead of working together they were squabbling over a project that was still coming. The bush had been cleared and everything was ready, but now it’s gone.

“That was a huge loss.”

Ward 16 councillor Mzukisi Relu can be contacted on 078-414-5505.

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