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Opposing views to call for Mooi River Toll Plaza relocation

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Durban – The Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) says it will continue to hold discussions with the government over its call for the relocation of the Mooi River Toll Plaza to a safer spot on the N3 in KwaZulu-Natal.

The lobby group has cited the safety of drivers and goods carried by trucks as the primary reason behind the call, warning that failure to act promptly could have dire implications for the supply of food across the country.

CGCSA is an industry association that represents retail and manufacturing member companies in the sector, such as retail giant Pick n Pay.

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The toll plaza is a few metres away from Bruntville township in Mooi River, and some road users have cited this proximity to the settlement as the reason for users, especially truck drivers, being prone to attacks. A number of trucks have been looted, burnt and attacked at the plaza in recent years.

Abraham Nelson, CGCSA executive responsible for Crime Risk Initiative, said the unrest in July 2021, which resulted in the closure of Mooi River Toll Plaza, was one of the reasons why the council had called for the relocation of toll gates on this route.

Read also: SAPS Responds To ATDF ASA Demands For Driver Safety At Mooi River

“There have, in the past, been a number of incidents and disruptions at the Mooi River Plaza prior to the unrest, such as trucks being burnt and or looted. This is a huge risk to the operations of the sector and impacts on food security and also results in the sale of illicit and counterfeit goods,” he said yesterday.

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He pointed out that the call was not just being made by an individual supermarket group, but was supported by retail and manufacturing members within CGCSA.

Nelson said the bigger concern for the group was the safety of the drivers, who bore the brunt of the incidents.

“The sooner this decision is made, the better for our members and consumers, as this will ensure a secure, uninterrupted supply route of goods to other parts of the country,” said Nelson, who expressed optimism that the group’s proposal would be considered.

While the call is also supported by farmers’ group, the KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union, the Road Freight Association (RFA), has poured cold water on the proposal, questioning the wisdom behind it. RFA CEO Gavin Kelly noted that when the plaza was built, there was no settlement around it, but said that businesses and later human settlements had sprung up.

He warned that the relocation would badly affect retailers such as the truck stop and the fuel supply network, but also said that even if it was moved, with time, people would build near to it.

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A local resident, Kwazikwenkosi Mshengu, said the presence of the toll had no impact on the lives of the locals.

He also dismissed suggestions that locals from Bruntville attacked drivers and looted trucks, saying, in many instances violence would occur between local and foreign truck drivers.

The South African National Roads Agency Limited spokesperson, Zenzele Bam, said the agency had not received any formal requests regarding the relocation of the Mooi River Plaza. – THE MERCURY

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