Ficksburg community unites to create roads forum

Various organisations and bodies from the Ficksburg community gathered on 2 March with one common goal, namely to address the dire state of roads in the area. A letter directed by the meeting to the Premier of the Free State, Ms Sisi Ntombela, insists on an urgent meeting within 7 days to prevent further action.

According to Friedl Von Maltitz, Setsoto’s regional representative of Free State Agriculture (FSA), the Ficksburg Agricultural Association together with the Imperani Agricultural Association, which represent emerging farmers in the area, took the initiative to involve all the role players in the area. The meeting, attended by members of inter alia FITA (Ficksburg Taxi Association), AFASA, OVK, Setsoto Youth Development, Ficksburg Commonage Tenants, etc. decided to establish a forum known as ‘Sechaba sa Ficksburg’.

“The farmers are upset about the condition of roads, but we have only now realized how far it also affects the rest of the community.” says von Maltitz. “Taxi drivers’ income is in jeopardy, because certain routes are completely impassable.”

In the letter to the Premier that was jointly compiled by all members of the forum, it is clearly stated that the many promises by various civil servants, including the Premier, have not realized in the improvement and upgrading of roads in the district. The forum therefore urges a meeting with the Premier and officials responsible for the maintenance of the district’s roads. The forum also makes it clear that any funds allocated for the repair of roads should only be administered by the forum.

Last week, a petition with more than 2,000 signatures by residents of Lindley, Petrus Steyn and Arlington broader community was handed to the office of Sam Mashinini, Free State MEC for roads, police and transport, requesting urgent repairs to the R707.

Francois Wilken, President of Free State Agriculture (FSA), believes it is positive that communities stand together. “The government will need to take note of communities’ objections, because everyone has a constitutional right to basic services. However, the failure to maintain infrastructure deprives people of this right.”

Ficksburg-gemeenskap skep paaie forum

Verskeie instansies van die Ficksburg gemeenskap het op 2 Maart byeengekom met een gemeenskaplike doel, naamlik die haglike toestand van paaie in die omgewing. ’n Skrywe is deur die vergadering aan die Premier van die Vrystaat, me Sisi Ntombela, gerig wat aandring op ’n dringende vergadering binne 7 dae om te verhoed dat verdere aksie geneem word.

Volgens Friedl von Maltitz, streekverteenwoordiger van Vrystaat Landbou (VL), het Ficksburg landbouvereniging en die Imperani landbouvereniging, wat opkomende boere in die omgewing verteenwoordig, die inisiatief geneem om alle rolspelers van die omgewing te betrek. Die vergadering, wat bygewoon is deur lede van o.a. FITA (Ficksburg Taxi Association), Afasa, OVK, Setsoto Jeug Ontwikkeling, Ficksburg meentgrond huurders (commanage tenants), ens. het besluit om ’n forum te stig wat bekend staan as ‘Sechaba sa Ficksburg’.

“Die boere is omgekrap oor die toestand van paaie, maar ons het nou eers werklik besef hoe ver dit die res van die gemeenskap ook beïnvloed.” sê von Maltitz. “Taxi bestuurders se inkomste is in gedrang, omdat sekere roetes heeltemal onbegaanbaar is.”

In die skrywe aan die Premier wat gesamentlik deur alle lede van die forum opgestel is, word dit duidelik gestel dat die vele beloftes deur verskeie staatsamptenare, insluitend die Premier, insake die herstel en opgradering van paaie in die distrik nie gerealiseer het nie. Die forum dring daarom aan op ’n vergadering met die Premier en die amptenare verantwoordelik vir die instandhouding van die distrik se paaie. Die forum stel dit ook duidelik dat enige fondse wat vir die herstel van paaie bewillig word, slegs deur die forum geadministreer moet word.

Verlede week is ’n beswaarskrif met meer as 2 000 handtekeninge van inwoners van Lindley, Petrus Steyn en Arlington aan die kantoor van Sam Mashinini, Vrystaatse LUR vir paaie, polisie en vervoer ingehandig wat dringende herstel van die R707 versoek.

Francois Wilken, president van Vrystaat Landbou (VL), meen dit is verblydend dat gemeenskappe saam staan. “Die regering sal moet kennis neem  van gemeenskappe se besware, want almal het ’n grondwetlike reg tot basiese dienste. Die versuim om infrastruktuur in stand te hou, ontneem mense egter van hierdie reg.”