DIEPSLOOT’S main transport hub, connecting users with various parts of the city as well as neighbouring municipalities, is now fully operational following a much publicised launch on Tuesday, 3 July.
The colourful facility, in Extension 2, is on Ingonyama Road, the main arterial into the community. The rank is fully equipped with intelligent power supply grids, shelters for taxis, destination signage, security, and stalls for traders.
Ward councillor Rogers Makhubele said the community was delighted at its opening and would use it in a way that fostered integration between taxi drivers, commuters and informal traders to improve public transport.
Portfolio head for development planning and urban management Ros Greeff said the transport hub would not only contribute to ensuring that commuters travelled with dignity, but would also bring the connectivity spoken about in the Diepsloot Urban Development Framework and Joburg 2040.
Over the next five years, about 5 percent of the City’s budget would be allocated to infrastructure development in Diepsloot; 80 percent of gravel roads would be tarred by 2016, water and sewer mains would be upgraded, wetlands would be rehabilitated and social amenities such parks, recreational spaces and community centres would be provided.
Greeff said that more informal dwellings would be formalised.
“The City is committed to improving the lives of Diepsloot residents. We intend to build more pedestrian bridges to further improve mobility and install public lighting to promote a safe and secure public environment,” she explained.
Joburg 2040 was people centred, Greeff said, adding that the City was committed to building liveable communities.
Her words were echoed by the portfolio head of transport, Rehana Moosajee, who said: “We would like to see more of this in Diepsloot. We are going to see more progressive development and we want to see the community thriving and developing.”
It was exciting to witness the kind of infrastructure development that was happening in Diepsloot. The rank was linked to the City’s infrastructural development and community development plan, Moosajee said. “This taxi rank without taxis and people would be meaningless. We need to build a Diepsloot that progressively gets better.”
She added that the rank would enhance the entrepreneurial spirit of the community. “The handover is really from the City of Joburg to the people of Diepsloot; this is your facility,” Moosajee said, encouraging community members to embrace the facility and make use of it.
“Let’s get people to use the facility, so that at the end of every day they can say we are better people today than we were yesterday.”
Bafana Mokwena, the general secretary of the Noweto Chamber of Business, welcomed the facility on behalf of taxi drivers and informal traders. “We want to be more like Soweto; such initiatives make us proud as businesses of the north,” he said.
Moosajee said the City’s transport vision for 2040 was about putting people first – the needs of pedestrians, the needs of cyclists and public transport users, and then the car.
Socio-economic challenges still stalk Diepsloot, including high levels of unemployment, dense settlements, inadequate infrastructure, lack of recreational amenities, and limited economic opportunities.
The Diepsloot Spatial Development Framework envisages a people-centred community with pedestrian-orientated mixed-use nodes, with buildings that are connected by pedestrian walkways and public spaces.