CC image courtesy of Editor5807
Speaking to HumanIPO, Pieters, who is arguably the town’s most active campaigner on the issue, said the petition site “Memelroad” was launched yesterday and has already garnered more than 1,700 signatures.
Furthermore the site has received more than 7,000 visits.
Pieters said once the site had reached 10,000 signatures, the petition will be forwarded to Ace Magashule, premier of the Free State.
The deteriorated road in question is officially known as the R34, but is referred to as the “Memel Road” by residents in Newcastle as it links the town to Gauteng through the small Free State town of Memel.
The road is riddled with potholes, and the stretch in front of Memel is completely missing.
The almost instant success of the site may be attributed to the fact the state of the Memel Road has been a hot topic among Newcastle residents for many years as it threatens their lives.
The latest fatality, as reported by Looklocal and the Newcastle Advertiser newspaper, occurred on Tuesday night when a car overturned, resulting in the death of a young woman and her husband injured.
“You can’t travel that road in the evening, not at all, it’s very dangerous,” said Pieters. “We want to make sure they fix this road and we also want them to rebuild this road - put it in their planning process to rebuild this road,” said Pieters.
“This is also our corridor for economic growth, for tourism, and of course there’s lots of students that travel [on] this road every year” from Johannesburg, Potchefstroom and Bloemfontien, “So it’s important to all of us,” said Pieters.
Pieters added it is especially important for the economy of Newcastle because the dilapidated road serves as one of the main routes to Johannesburg.
“The Newcastle mayor supports the initiative and will be the first to sign a memorandum that will be handed to the Free State premier. Mayor Afzul Rehman will lead the delegation to meet with the premier of the Free State. The Newcastle Sakekamer’s president has also [given] his... full support to this project,” said the Memelroad petition site.