TONOTA: For the residents of Tonota village, a new dawn has finally arrived. The single stretch of tarred road that used to meander through the village, from the famous Take-No-Time junction to the gate of Tonota College of Education (TCE), is now a thing of the past.
The cries and complaints about the flooded Tholotsane River and Rutwang stream that usually make some parts of the village inaccessible during rainy seasons will be heard no more. The village now has tarred internal roads that have permanently altered its physical outlook. The roads have been designed to connect the vital areas in the village.
For the 41-year-old Obatilwe Lephutshe of Tonota West, it is important to acknowledge the government's efforts and particularly the designers. "Although some of us are not experts in this field, it is very clear that whoever designed the roads had the interests of the community at heart. If one looks carefully at it, it is clear that the road web strategically connects the village to the highway. It has been designed such that it connects important offices such as the police station, the post office and the clinic. It also connects various parts of the village," she says.
Lephutshe vividly remembers life in the village before the internal roads were constructed. "There used to be waves of dust that would always decorate the sky during the day when traffic flowed through the village. It was also a struggle to get a sick person to the local clinic. The bad state of the road undoubtedly added to the pains and suffering of the sick," she says.
A new wave of expectation has now engulfed the village. For 29-year-old Gasebuse Mmeleke of Lelote ward, the expectation is that the transport woes that used to characterise their daily lives will be a thing of the past. "The issue of transportation is currently a burning one for us who are staying in this part of the village as we have all along been very far from the only 'main' road (the single stretch that used to be the only tarred road) and as such there are no taxis and buses that operate in this area," she says.
She says that previously they had to walk a considerable distance to catch taxis and buses. "We have to walk from this part of the village to the Tonota College of Education, Post Office or Panorama bus stops to catch taxis or buses. For one to get a taxi to our place, one has to pay a special price," she says.
"We are however happy that the internal roads have some designed stops for buses, which give us hope that very soon buses and taxis will be passing through our area," she says with hope.
Business opportunities that will come courtesy of the new roads is another prospect that makes the villagers happy. Boitumelo Khunelo of Manyanda ward says the roads will give rise to a flourishing market, especially for street vendors.
"They can always erect their temporary stalls along these internal roads and make some money. The new Bus Rank at the entrance of the village will also come as a plus to the street vendors and the taxi operators if the business operations are planned and executed accordingly," he says.