This week, Mmegi carried out a snap survey in Ramfurwa, the neighbourhood situated to the immediate east of the proposed road and bridge linking Gaborone to Tlokweng from Maruapula to establish how the people living there felt about the project.
While the road construction project seems to have rubbed some the wrong way, the people who live in the vicinity of the road are hailing it as a necessary infrastructural development which will, not only make their homes easily accessible, but also enhance safety in their neighbourhoods.
The proposed road is an extension of an already existing one which branches out of Limpopo Road after the Maruapula traffic light. As you turn right facing east, the Botswana Housing Corporation block of flats is on your left and on the right hand side is Maruapula School.
As you proceed, you pass the Bluetree Gold Driving Range on the left and the University of Botswana Teaching Hospital on the right until you reach the river where the bridge is to be constructed.
Like many neighbourhoods in Tlokweng, the residents of Ramfurwa are a mixed bag of indigenous Batlokwa and people from other parts of the country. One of the residents whose house is on the immediate street adjacent to the road, complained of the dust and the vibrations caused by the heavy machinery working on the road, but said she is comforted by the fact that once the road is completed they will benefit.
A middle-aged man further inside the neighbourhood said he looks forward to the time the bridge on the Notwane River would have been completed.
“During the rain season you cannot cross the river. For you to go to Broadhurst or Maruapula, you have to go in a long winded way towards the Shoppers supermarket robots.”
He said the road will also make it possible for taxis and combis to use the shorter route.
For her part, a businesswoman in the neighbourhood said “It looks like there was no proper consultation, otherwise the road is a welcome development. There is too much congestion on the current roads.
At times I have to go all the way and turn by Senn Foods on the Zeerust Road to come here due to heavy traffic”. She believed that the new road will significantly ease congestion on the existing ones.
A young woman said her wish is that the contractor
Apart from easing congestion on the existing ones during peak hours, he believed the new road will help in the fight against crime. “We also hope that it will attract other developments to the village,” he added.
Asked if any member of their neighbourhood had lodged any complaint about the road construction, he said he was only aware of an “inquiry” or a “complaint”, that was made with the local authorities at the initial stages of the project. He did not specify what the inquiry was about.
According to two nursing mothers who are neighbours, the only problem is dust. Said one: “If only they could sprinkle water on the road so that the dust can settle. Otherwise the road is going to be very helpful. It is a short cut from here to Broadhurst”.
Asked if they were aware of concerns about the new road from certain quarters in the community, some of those interviewed said the matter was being politicised in view of the forthcoming general elections next year. “Everyone wants to be seen to be representing the interests of residents so as to garner public sympathy ahead of the elections”, says one young man. And added another, “This is so unfortunate because we have always wished for this road to be upgraded to an all-weather standard, and now some people want to deny us that opportunity”.
According to the contractor, Universal Builders, the new road will have a sewer line running alongside it as well as street lighting. The road, which according to the contractor is a social responsibility project, will cost at least P5m just to surface it with tarmac, excluding excavation and other works.