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Plan to ban trucks from using the R33, R34 and R66

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A group calling themselves the R33/34/66 JOC has released a statement warning truck owners and drivers that they will be barring abnormal load trucks from using the R33, R34 and R66 routes.

This after side tipper trucks resorted to using these routes after being banned from the N2 in Pongola. Communities in Pongola banned the trucks after a truck collided with a bakkie killing 20 people.

Communities living along the routes have protested the sudden influx of the trucks which they blamed for bringing along serious accidents.

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In the latest effort to stop the trucks from using the route, the R33/34/66 JOC wrote:

This notice is given on behalf of various organization’s and groupings within the communities living in towns and surrounding areas along the R33, R34, and R66 routes including Ermelo, Piet Retief, Paulpietersburg, Vryheid, Melmoth and Utrecht – which are currently very badly affected by the diversion from the N2 of thousands of abnormal loaded coal trucks enroute from the Mpumalanga coal fields to Richards Bay harbour through the said routes.

The notice is addressed to all concerned in particular to all owners and drivers of the thousands of abnormal load side tipper coal trucks that are currently traversing the abovementioned roads and areas.

These actions are necessitated by the extremely devastating and dangerous consequences that the current state of affairs have on the people and infrastructure of the involved communities.

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It must be emphasized that the actions now taken and planned by the involved communities, should not be viewed as a vendetta against owners of legally owned trucks driven by law abiding drivers. The situation has however become so dangerous and damaging to the communities involved that they are left with no other option than to resort to the below mentioned peaceful civil action in a desperate attempt to prevent further violations of
their human rights, the threat to human lives and the irreversible damage caused to the road infrastructure that these communities depend on for their socio-economic survival.

1. The roads in questions generally, and the R33 between the Pongola bridge and Vryheid in particular are not designed to accommodate the thousands of trucks and the overwhelming high axle loads to which the routes in question are currently exposed.

2. The major part of the R33, and certain parts of the R33 and R66 are in very poor state of disrepair and has last seen an upgrade or major maintenance prior to 1994. These roads were not designed and constructed to carry such volumes of abnormal heavy traffic on a daily basis. The roads are too narrow and the surface shoulders are not adequate to ensure the safety of other road users including pedestrians. All together this makes these roads very unsafe for the trucks, the public and especially school children that are being transported to and from school daily.

3. The greater communities involved believe that the coal trucks should in the short term be required URGENTLY and IMMEDIATELY to use alterative roads to transport coal to the port at Richards Bay.

4. In the long term the coal should ideally be shipped via the existing and available Richards Bay rail facility leading from the coal fields to Richards Bay. That rail road was constructed in the first place many years ago exactly for the very purpose to cart coal to the harbour at Richards Bay. According to reliable sources
the said rail facility is currently totally underutilized.

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In a desperate attempt to stop the present unacceptable situation from prevailing any longer, the R33, R34 and R66 will be closed to all trucks carting coal on these routes as from
Thursday 20 October 2022.

No side tipper coal trucks will be allowed past the barriers that will be erected at different localities on these routes as from Thursday 20 October 2022 and truck owners and drivers are hereby seriously advised to make alternative arrangements to prevent any inconvenience, delays and possible serious consequences for all concerned.

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