“Fix our road. Or nobody uses it.”

Zukile Majova

Normal village life has ground to a standstill in Ndakeni, Ngwekazana and Sithinteni villages outside Mount Ayliff in the Eastern Cape – where villagers have blocked a main access road demanding resurfacing of the gravel road.

Local roads have been washed away by heavy rains over the past two months, making it difficult for anyone to go to town when it rains.

At least six local schools have been affected, including the top performing village school called Zwelakhe High School, which achieved a 98% matric pass rate from over 250 matric learners last year.

Busses contracted by the state to transport learners – to Arthur Ngunga High School, Mt Ayliff Comprehensive High, Zwelakhe High School, Rhode High School,  Saphukanduka High School, and Sakhisizwe High School – were all blocked from accessing the schools. 

When Scrolla.Africa visited the villages on Wednesday, dozens of pensioners could not get transport to Mount Frere and Mount Ayliff to draw their monthly pensions.

Gogo Mambhele Juba said: “We are on our way to draw our pension money. But now we can’t get there. 

“We are supposed to get pension money on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Then it’s the turn of those who draw the child support grants.

“If we miss our turn, it’s going to be too overcrowded in town by the weekend.”

Umzimvubu Municipal Manager Thobile Notha said the municipality had instructed a contractor to fix the road as far back as December. 

“The community says the contractor arrived and promised to begin work on 11 January, but it’s March now.

“That’s why we have this anger here.

“But we are going to attend to this matter urgently. 

“The contractor will be here on Friday and immediately fix the most damaged sections.”

The protestors have vowed to mobilise other villages and block the N2, a popular tactic that has forced the government to quickly resolve such matters in other villages along the busy N2 in the past.