URGENT ROAD REPAIRS NEEDED TO SAVE BAVIAANSKLOOF TOURISM

Owners of guest houses in the Baviaanskloof stand to lose their peak-season December income and may be forced to shed employees because the flood damaged access road into this World Heritage site has remained closed since heavy flooding last month. This road must be repaired as a matter of urgency.

I have been informed that drainage has been improved on the Western side, and the road from Willowmore to Zandvlakte has been repaired. However, no repairs have been done on the Eastern side. While the route from Kondomo to Poortjies is bad but passable, the road from Poortjies to Zandvlakte is closed. This means that local and international tourists, who have booked months in advance, will not have access to the wilderness area including Rooihoek and Doodsklip.

I have written to the MEC for Roads, Thandiswa Marawu, to alert her to the plight of this community and to prioritise repairs to this road.

We as leaders need to act swiftly. December is the peak season for tourism in the area and carries businesses through the rest of the year. We cannot allow economic growth in rural areas to be jeopardised.

It took many years to develop and make the Baviaanskloof an international tourist destination. The number of visitors to the area grows every year and the momentum cannot be lost now, especially not to the detriment of local job opportunities and economic growth.

I trust that the MEC will see the significance of this matter and will act with the necessary urgency.