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The agricultural union of KwaZulu-Natal, Kwanalu, is calling for the removal of the Mooi River Toll Plaza on the N3 between Durban and Johannesburg.
The reasoning behind this, the union explains, is the severe risk the toll gate’s location places on the sustained economy of KZN. The call, made to Minister Thoko Didiza, comes in the wake of the devastating economic consequences the closure of the toll plaza has had on the agricultural sector value chain and the subsequent food shortages’ threat to the province.
The organisation, which represents farmers, rural members, commodity groups and agribusinesses in KwaZulu-Natal, has recommended to the government that an economic security risk analysis be conducted on the location of the toll plaza. CEO of Kwanalu, Sandy La Marque, said, “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.”
Kwanalu is not alone in its call, supported by the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa, AgBiz.
AgBiz Chief Executive, Dr John Purchase, emphasised, “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.” La Marque pointed out, “This has been an ongoing problem; the closure of the toll plaza during the unrest isn’t something we haven’t experienced before. The location of it is jeopardised, and is a catalyst for unrest, a soft-spot, and an identified risk for anyone moving good or services through it.”
La Marque 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 KZN 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?”
La Marque feels their members deserve the right 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.
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