The longing for a proud haven

A pothole that looks more like a sinkhole on the corner of Paul Kruger Street and 5th Avenue, Boksburg North. Showing its width is Gugu Ngwenya. This is the state of affairs in Boksburg.

The resident was fuming, and posed the question, what must be done to get the attention of the local government in order to provide proper maintenance of infrastructure and service delivery?

Violence begets violence, this we know, so unfortunately, setting buildings alight and throwing cement down storm-water drains will not solve much, even though it seems residents are getting to a point where they are entertaining such extreme actions.

And this irate resident has a valid point, bemoaning the lack of political will to see concrete change and progression in the city.

His frustrations were not penned in a letter, for the simple reason the resident felt it would do no good.

And so I have to wonder, is this the general feeling among Boksburg residents? A sense of deepening pessimism due to a system that is stuck in a broken gear?

After all, at the Advertiser we still receive plenty of complaints regarding the metro’s poor service delivery and deteriorating infrastructure.

Boksburg sits with giant potholes that look like sinkholes and with water leaks that are not being repaired in good time.

And what about the informal settlement in the south of Boksburg, close to Villa Liza, where it looks more like the Amazon than part of a city?

It has become so bad that residents are living in fear of the snakes that are having a slithering good time in the long grass.

And what about the state of the Boksburg Sub-Regional Cemetery, where you have to go into David Livingstone mode, hacking your way through bushes?

Regarding water leaks, how absolutely ridiculous that a family has had to endure extensive damage to their home because the metro, it seems, has failed to fix a water leak for 10 years.

I mean seriously, 10 years? And who will pay for all the damage? Surely not the metro. Is there no one in the metro who is concerned that a family has had to struggle with this issue for a decade?

And so I have to wonder if indeed it boils down to a lack of political will to see change for the better in Boksburg.

Here and there, now and then, you see the metro fixing things or painting road signs, but the city looks shoddy.

Add to this the new mega development of low-cost housing they want to build in Boksburg, stretching from Reiger Park, down opposite Parkrand through to Sunward Park.

Already the metro is struggling to keep the city together – it seems with spit and empty promises – and already the infrastructure is groaning under the weight of Boksburg’s growth, so what will happen if another 3 000 or so homes are built?

I shudder to think, considering it means new schools and a medical facility will need to be built quickly to cater for the families.

Any resident wants to feel proud of their city (it also helps to boost property value), but pride dips and wanes when it seems even the metro is not taking pride in providing a beautiful haven for its citizens.

I guess we can only hope for a bolstering of the political will that will cater for the needs of the people – which is, of course, democracy in action.

Riaan Engelbrecht

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