Businesses suffer due to closure of Main Reef Road which is a crucial route to Brakpan. This has left motorists without a clear indication of when it will reopen. The road was shut down in November 2020 to repair damage caused by illegal mining activity. Since then, the road has been diverted to a back road that is bordered by the Plastic City informal settlement on both sides. The City of Ekurhuleni spokesperson, Zweli Dlamini, said that the road has become irreparable from a maintenance perspective, and extensive work needs to be done before the road can be reopened.
This road closure has had a significant impact on local businesses. Some businesses are concerned that they may have to shut down if the road remains closed for another two years. The Rock Raceway has been paying R450 an hour to run generators to keep its operations going, while Caltex Anzac has been spending an extra R35,000 a month on diesel during load-shedding, in addition to paying full electricity rates. The biggest problem for businesses is the lack of traffic. Eleanor Dasrath, the owner of Caltex Anzac, said that their business had traffic coming from several areas, but since the closure of Main Reef Road, everyone has been getting comfortable driving other routes.
The Royal Oak Country Club has also had to lay off workers to stay afloat, and the parking lot used to be full of up to 50 cars on weekends, but now they’re lucky to get 10. Furthermore, the golf course has to close earlier before dark to keep players safe from criminals.
Residents have put in their own money to pay lawyers to get an eviction order for Plastic City, but it was wasted. Tim Stephens, the owner of The Rock Raceway, said they’ve tried everything to get the road fixed. They even put in a tender to fix the road but were denied because their quote was allegedly deemed too low. Tim hasn’t seen a decline in business, but he has seen a significant decline in people coming to enjoy the races. Businesses and the local community will benefit greatly if the road can be fixed.
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