Kwanalu has called on agriculture, land reform and rural development minister Thoko Didiza to remove the Mooi River Toll Plaza on the N3 between Durban and Johannesburg, citing the “severe risk” its location places on the KwaZulu-Natal economy.
The call to Didiza comes in the wake of the devastating economic consequences the closure of the toll plaza has had on the agricultural value chain and the recent subsequent food shortages’ threat to the province.
Kwanalu, representing farmers, rural members, commodity groups and agri-businesses in KwaZulu-Natal, has recommended to government that an economic security risk analysis be conducted on the location of the toll plaza.
“We strongly believe that the findings would more than justify the relocation or removal of the toll in its entirety. We call on government to acknowledge the risk that exists with its location,” said Kwanalu chief executive Sandy La Marque.
The call is supported by Agbiz, said Dr John Purchase, this organisation’s chief executive.
“In addition to the move, a high security fence should be erected to secure the freeway through the whole Mooi River municipal area.
“Agbiz understands the problems of unemployment and poverty in this area, but proposes that other solutions to this problem be sought and developed, independent of the N3 security.”
Toll plaza ‘endangers lives’
The closure of the Mooi River Toll Plaza during recent widespread anarchy and looting in KwaZulu-Natal isn’t something the agricultural sector hasn’t experienced before, adds La Marque.
“The location of it is jeopardised, and is a catalyst for unrest, a soft-spot, and an identified risk for anyone moving goods or services through it.”
She went on to highlight the drastic economic consequences the closure of the toll plaza had on the agricultural value chain of the province.
“It was the reason farmers had to dump milk, not because they wanted to but because they couldn’t move their goods safely through the toll plaza to the rest of the country.
“We know that 25% of the milk that is produced in KwaZulu-Natal is destined for the rest of South Africa. How do you move milk, eggs and other goods that are perishable, that people consume daily, when it is not safe to do so?” questioned La Marque.
“Our members deserve the right to be able to continue with the day-to-day economic activities of providing food without the threat to lives or financial implications that using the Mooi River Toll Plaza places on them and their employees.”