A lack of services and facilities for Masiphumelele commuters and minibus-taxi operators will soon be a thing of the past, with construction of the new taxi rank due to start in May.
While the current facility, situated on Erf 1728, east of Pokela Road, has no ablution facilities or walkways, the new rank, will offer the approximately 3 300 daily commuters who depart from the site to various destinations in Simon’s Town, Fish Hoek, Kommetjie, and Noordhoek, with a safe and sheltered area for waiting as well as ablution facilities.
Mayoral committee member for area south, Eddie Andrews, said the new facility, which will cost approximately R13.8 million, will accommodate about 60 minibus-taxis and will include an administration building where operators and management can conduct meetings.
The drop-off and pick-up facilities will have roof coverings.
Walking lanes will enable safe and easy access to the rank and in addition, he said, there will also be a waiting area for commuters travelling long distance.
The stormwater system in Pokela Road will also be upgraded to help prevent flooding of the road.
Mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, Brett Herron said, the facility would also be equipped with a rooftop solar photovoltaic panel system for electricity generation.
Photovoltaics are best known as a method for generating electric power by using solar cells to convert energy from the sun into a flow of electrons by the photovoltaic effect. Solar cells produce direct current electricity from sunlight which can be used to power equipment or to recharge a battery.
Mr Herron said the City would also sink a borehole for non-potable water uses at the facility and rainwater from the roof will be collected and stored in tanks.
He said he was confident that the local community would benefit significantly from the new facility and it would help to improve the quality of life for Masiphumelele residents.
Mr Andrews further urged local sub-contractors and residents of Masiphumelele who need temporary work opportunities to register at the local sub-council office.
He added that the contractor for the project was obliged to provide temporary employment opportunities to a number of local residents whose names were on the sub-council database, and the same applied to local sub-contractors for goods and services.
Community leader, Dumsani Nhlapo said the new facility was long overdue and was welcomed by the people of Masiphumelele. The open days, hosted by the City last month, were well attended, he said.
He added that the facility would help create more job opportunities and would make it easier for locals to travel to work and surrounding areas.
Masiphumelele resident, Bongiswa Ncwaba said she had been living in the area for the past five years and used a taxi on a daily basis to commute to Fish Hoek to look for work.
She said the new taxi rank would make travelling easier as the queues were very long and commuters were exposed to either cold and rain or the heat while waiting to catch a taxi.
Another resident, Phelda Ngwlnduna, said she had lived in Masiphumelele for more than 10 years and was very excited about the new facility. She uses a taxi every day to get to various destinations in the far south.
“I will no longer have to stand in the wind, rain and blazing sun waiting for a taxi,” she said.
However, community activist, Rosemary Milbank, does not share the enthusiasm of the community.
She said residents had been promised that a portion of land where the new taxi rank will be constructed, would be used for housing and once the facility had been completed, the portion of land remaining would be too small for any housing.
Mr Herron explained that the new taxi rank would be constructed on Erf 1866, west of Pokela Road in Masiphumelele and said, given the size of the facility, a portion of the site may be available for other development which may include housing opportunities, as well as commercial opportunities.
He said Erf 17775, the Solele site, was being sub-divided and the City intended to develop a portion of it for housing and another section of it for the new fire station.
He said officials from the City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority were currently investigating and verifying the exact size of the portion that could be used for housing opportunities.
He added that Erf 1728 where the taxi rank is currently situated, would be available for housing opportunities and related uses as well.