Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Southafrica improvement of road cycling

Johannesburg's new mayor has halted the
construction of the South African city's
ambitious cycle lanes project.
It was rolled out in part of the city in 2014 while
the African National Congress (ANC) was still in
power, to encourage people to cycle.
Opposition parties had criticised the ANC, saying
the money should to used to provide services for
poor people.
Mayor Herman Mashaba says the project would
only be looked at once all the city's roads had
been tarred.
Africa Live: More on this and other stories
He is from the Democratic Alliance which won
control of the city in August elections, with the
support of the Economic Freedom Fighters
(EFF).
The EFF had marched to former mayor Parks
Tau's office, unhappy that the city had set aside
70 million rand ($490,000; £370,000) for cycle
lanes in rich areas of the city while residents in
Alexandra township still lived in squalid
conditions.
Analysis: Pumza Fihlani, Johannesburg
The news of the cycle lanes received a mixed
reaction when it was announced in 2014.
While some felt it was a vanity project for the
city's growing elite, others welcomed the vision
of encouraging more residents to get out of their
cars and cycle instead.
However, the move to halt the project has
largely been welcomed.
The decision seems to show the influence of
firebrand Julius Malema, whose EFF was
merciless in its criticism of the lanes during its
election campaign.
The EFF joined forces with the DA, which now
runs Johannesburg.
The debate about infrastructure v the needs of
the poor is a longstanding one here and it is a
difficult balancing act.
Johannesburg fancies itself a world class city
and meeting that ambition comes with a hefty
price. But its managers also have to wrestle with
the reality that many residents are still without
basic services such as housing, water or proper
sanitation, or proper roads.
While it would take a lot more than would have
been spent on the lanes to relieve poverty in the
city, this gesture may help to send the message
that those who live on the fringes of
Johannesburg's skyscrapers have not been
forgotten.