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Moloto ‘death trap’ road users march to Union Buildings, to demand railway

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Protesters outside the Union Buildings in Tshwane, demanding that a railway be built along the infamous Moloto road.

  • Residents who live along the notorious Moloto road marched to the Union Buildings in Tshwane to demand that the Moloto rail project gets underway.
  • Protesters allege that they have been promised a railway, but that  nothing has been done.
  • The Moloto road is known for the number of deaths that have occurred over the years.

Commuters who must make use of the infamous Moloto road which runs through Gauteng, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo have marched to the Union Buildings in Tshwane, demanding that the Moloto rail project get underway.

The Moloto Road, or R573, which goes by many names including the “unholy road” and “death road” is known for its long history of fatal vehicle accidents.

In 2013 the road claimed the lives of 29 people after a bus collided with a stationary bus.

In 2019, six people died after a head-on collision between a bus and a cash-in-transit van.

In November in the same year, two people lost their lives and 36 others were injured when a bus veered off the road and overturned.

READ | Moloto Road: 40 years of broken promises

Following the accident, Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula said the most effective way to address congestion on the road was the proposed rail solution and that the department of transport was treating the rail corridor project as a priority after a number of false starts.

It was these false starts that prompted communities from Thembisile Hani, Dr JS Moroka, and Elias Motsoaledi municipalities which use the deadly road to march to the Union Buildings on Friday to hand over a memorandum of demands.

According to the memorandum, the affected communities are demanding the immediate implementation of the Moloto rail corridor comprising 13 new train stations and taxi routes and ranks.

They have also demanded the completion of an un-tolled dual carriageway from Mable Hall to Moloto.

READ | No tolls planned for R573 Moloto Road

Leading the march, Masango said the Moloto rail was promised as early as 1994.

“Doing my Grade 12 in 2000, this thing [rail project] was still a promise. When I finished my teaching diploma, this thing was still a promise,” Masango said.

Fin24 previously reported that the rail corridor got the nod in 2008.

In 2019, IOL reported that the construction of the Moloto rail corridor project was set to start once funding could be secured, but that at the time, no funds had been transferred to the transport departments of Gauteng, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo for the project.

Speaking at the march on Friday, Masango said President Cyril Ramaphosa needed to ensure that the affected communities do not wait another decade before work starts.

Investment

The issue of the railway is not only about the dangerous roads, but also the promise of investment.

Masango said a railway would allow for investment in the poor rural areas that the Moloto road was built along.

“The investors are fearing the killer road.”

The protesters have given Ramaphosa seven days to come back with a detailed implementation plan on the promise made by government.

“Our people have been patient for a very long time and they have ran out of patience.”

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