Daily Dispatch

Outcry from local businesses over Sanral’s ‘improvemen­ts’

- MBALI TANANA

A new traffic island in Butterwort­h’s main road has brought no joy to the firms nearby.

Motorists seeking to access their premises now have to turn at the Centane turnoff about a kilometre away.

Hi-Q manager Burleigh Malherbe said sales had declined by 40% since the island was installed in January. “From the day the island was put there we have been receiving complaints from our customers.

“We did not anticipate that it would affect us this badly. We tried to engage with Sanral about it but from the communicat­ion sent back and forth over the past few months, nothing has come of it. Customers can only come from the Centane side. The island barricades our entrance for anyone coming from East London.”

Malherbe said he drew up a petition for all those affected, calling on Sanral to demolish it, but it fell on deaf ears.

The petition was signed by 100 people, some of whom are clients of Malherbe, and others run local businesses.

Sasol Butterwort­h owner Yolisa Ngonyama had a different complaint. She said they’d had a traffic island in front of their premises but it was demolished to make way for roadworks, and as a result traffic now backs up along their entrance and it is a nightmare.

“The island was never a problem because it allowed people to turn with ease into the filling station. But now we are very anxious. We don’t know what’s happening and traffic blocks our entrance, which isn’t good for business.”

Ngonyama said there were road markings along the road indicating further constructi­on activity but they did not know what was going on.

Ngonyama said Sanral’s lack of communicat­ion made things difficult. “We were never consulted or informed, we just one day saw people at work.”

Sanral southern region manager Mbulelo Peterson said the businesses were consulted before the roadworks began.

“Sanral met with various stakeholde­rs, including business owners, on May 14 regarding the median island installed through the Butterwort­h CBD.

“Business owners present at this meeting were from Caltex in Bell Street, Fingoland Mall, a hardware store in Bell Street and the owner of Hi-Q and Dunlop on Mthatha Street.

“We liaised with the business owner at Hi-Q and we requested him to formally submit his opposition to the median to get a formal written response because our engagement­s with him had all been verbal.

“We had indicated to him previously that the turning movements that were being made into Hi-Q on the N2 at the Centane intersecti­on were illegal,” he said.

Peterson said two median islands were installed, one at the N2-Bell Street intersecti­on and the other at the N2-Blyth Street intersecti­on and they had “to date not received any correspond­ence as far as we are aware from Sasol”.

“Multiple meetings were held with the public liaison committee informing the public about the changes and meetings were held with Butterwort­h Nafcoc (business representa­tives) on February 20, and then with the business stakeholde­rs in Butterwort­h on August 16.”

Not part of the original scope of work but added after a request from Mnquma

 ?? Picture: SUPPLIED ?? BEREFT: Butterwort­h firms are dismayed at how a new island has disturbed their trade.
Picture: SUPPLIED BEREFT: Butterwort­h firms are dismayed at how a new island has disturbed their trade.

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