Centre protests threat to livelihood
MEMBERS of the community of Yonder have taken to the streets in protest as a damaged road to the centre continues to threaten their livelihood.
Friday morning’s march and picket at the problem area follows months of limited access and lengthy detours due to flooding at the subway in Kenilworth.
The centre has 17 different workshops, providing employment for 300 adults, as well as a nursery and restaurant, which sell handmade goods and plants to members of the public.
However, according to Yonder CEO, Jannie van Zyl, prospective customers are being deterred by the damaged road as they cannot drive through the subway to reach the premises.
An additional 200 pupils attend school at the Jannie Brink Centre, many of whom now have to take a 10km detour to get to school due to the condition of the subway.
“Our sales have dropped significantly and we do not know what to do anymore. As a community, we are very disappointed by the fact that the rights of the person with a disability is dishonoured,” Van Zyl said.
“Even though we live with a disability we have the right to work and to basic education. DETOURS: Residents of Yonder marched to the Kenilworth subway on Friday in an attempt to bring awareness to the condition of the road.
“Yonder is dependent on the income generated from sales of products produced by the service users of the centre, the plants and seeds provided to various nurseries in the Northern Cape and the income by the restaurant on the premises.
“Maintenance costs to the vehicles of the staff and involved institutions are high as everyone has to drive through the shorter route that is currently in a tragic state and a danger to their safety.”
According to Van Zyl, the flooding has been caused by a water pipe which is leaking at a join.
“You can see where it is leaking – it is not due to an increase in the water table as claimed by the Sol Plaatje Municipality. The soil that has been thrown in the area has also not helped and just made the situation worse.”
Van Zyl pointed to a pipe in the road that was also leaking.
“We demand that the road be repaired, permanently, as soon as possible and that structures are put in place to ensure that water does not flow into the street, obstructing the flow of traffic and access to the school, centre and businesses in the area.
“We want the municipality to know that we are here – we will stop the cars and do whatever we can to make sure they listen to our cries.”
Spokesperson for the Sol Plaatje Municipality, Sello Matsie, confirmed that the municipality was addressing the concerns that were raised, adding that ensuring adequate drainage at the subway was crucial before the road could be resurfaced.
“The damage to the road and the persistent pooling of water continue to be a problem as the subway is at the lowest geographical point in the area,” he explained.
“It is unfortunate that this problem is posing a secondary challenge, in that it is detrimental to Yonder, along with various businesses in the area.
“Fortunately, we have been able to identify the source of the water but it will need to be drained and eradicated before we can commence any resurfacing.”