I’ve just come back from a lovely long weekend in Parys. Not the fancy one in Europe, but rather the somewhat-iffy-but-getting-better Parys in the Freestate. As I understand it, it’s the place to be if you’re a 30-something yuppie and I can sort of see why.
There are lots of decorative antiques to buy, fancy lunches to eat and many places that’ll serve you a cocktail as the sun sets over the Vaal River. I like Parys a lot, but I’m not too keen on going back anytime soon.
My first reason for giving it a skip for a few months is the political campaigning happening over the weekends. On one corner you have the DA, asking you to hoot if you support them. I would, but I don’t like their blame culture, so instead of hooting in support, I drove by in silence and hoped that they’d notice my silent protest.
They would have, if it weren’t for the ANC standing on the opposite corner. These guys were walking around with shirts with the Prez’ face on them, hurling insults at everyone they assumed didn’t share their political views. One of them had a beer in hand, which might have been the reason behind the vigorous campaigning.
I get the fact that you want to support your political party, but not while I’m having my Saturday afternoon lunch. I just overpaid for a gourmet burger so I could feel upper class for a few precious minutes and you’re ruining it with your hooting and cursing.
The main reason I’m not going back anytime soon is the pothole situation. The roads have disintegrated to a point where you can describe it as a collection of potholes with scattered patches of tar. One of the roads leading out of the main road is so bad, that it’s basically just a gravel road and the people in Parys seem to accept it as is.
At least one has to drive slowly in the city, which gives you considerable time to check the road ahead and find the safest route through the potholes.
Getting into Parys is far worse. Because of the congestion on the N1, we decided to drive the long way round and why not. I was behind the wheel of a brand new Kia Sportage and wanted to enjoy the last long-distance drive my wife and I would be taking for a very long time.
Everything was running smoothly until we turned left out of Potchefstroom onto the Parys road. It’s a disaster zone, pure and simple. At times you have to drive in the middle of the road to avoid the massive potholes on the sides. Potholes so big, they’d slash the tyres of even the biggest SUV. Our Sportage stood no chance against these adversaries, so I slowed down to 80km/h so I’d have enough time to react to whatever obstacle we’d encounter.
It was insanely annoying, mostly because the speed limit on that particular piece of road is 120km/h. It also features a few nice bends, which I couldn’t enjoy at 80km/h. What a silly, stupid situation.
I was going to write a nasty letter to whoever is in charge of that area, but I’m not going to waste my time anymore. I have a sneaking suspicion that said person would just have a good laugh at my expense. Afterwards, my letter would get chucked into a bin with all the rest.
I know this for a fact now, because there seems to be a culture of “it’s not my problem.”
I just read an article on News24 about an equally dire pothole situation on a road near Rustenburg. The municipality got a contractor in to do the job, but it was done so poorly that the road started disintegrating almost immediately.
A week later, when the lines on the road had to be painted, the contractors simply painted the white lines straight through the potholes. How pathetic is that?
I must admit that I grinned for a few seconds while looking at the picture of the above incident, but a pothole is a dangerous thing that shouldn’t be ignored. I know that various provinces are under pressure to fix the many potholes that formed as a result of the recent downpours, but c’mon guys. Just get a move on with it why don’t you?
Just get a decent contractor in the first place, or don’t use a company again if they do a shoddy job.
If I was in charge in Rustenburg and I saw a man painting a line straight through a pothole, I’d fire his company on the spot.
That kind of work ethic is unwanted in a country as lovely as ours.