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Road to Baleni

Building a road is good thing, people earn money as unskilled labour is employed locally. Once the road is usable (even partially) the lives of those along the road are made much simpler, they become mobile, they have access to goods from outside and their goods can reach the outside world.

If we create an online selling system for rural crafters, lack of access to roads will hamper delivery of products, because there is an additional barrier to delivery. The goods have to be delivered to a place that has a postal service available. Also rains can cause delays. So many practical problems (not just the roads!) face us - but no reason to give up.

Travelling with Bob brought all this home to me. We were at schools that could not reliably say when matric exams were to be written because December gets a lot of rain. Clinics, that regularly had shortages of medical supplies, not to mention no vaccines (no electricity there either).

On our travels we also were informed about the N2 toll road that is being planned. The N2 toll road seems like something that is being made with a distasteful disregard to the ordinary people of the region. People living in places like Qumbu and Mount Frere on the current N2, as well as inhabitants of areas the road will cross might feel like they are living in an empire not unlike the roman one. A road with enormous visual impact suitably adapted to the tastes of the emperors, fenced in and tolled thus unusable on a daily basis because of cost: this is a disregard of the poor people and shows SA less as a republic (thing of the people) and more as an empire.

The "Save the wild coast campaign" is doing good work publicising the matter, please read e.g.
http://www.safcei.org.za/wildcoast/n2_mad_hatters.htm

Posted: March 15th 2007 01:39
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