Despite being a scenic lookout point and popular picnic spot, the infamous Voëlklip Road near Herold’s Bay is marked by tragedy as the site of numerous car accidents and alleged suicides.
Over the years, Voëlklip has been a point of contention among concerned residents, who have debated whether the road should be closed. It was declared safe for public use by the Herold’s Bay Ratepayers Association and Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Roads, provided drivers exercise caution.
The matter of road closure was made more complex because the site runs through privately-owned land and is recognised as an area of recreational and tourism value.
To address this, George Municipality facilitated a Task Team, which consisted of the Department of Environmental Affairs, Western Cape Provincial Transport and Public Works, Herold’s Bay Ratepayers Association, and the owner of the property. Remedial work was proposed by the Task Team and approved by the provincial authority – but because the road is on private land, the municipality was not allowed to allocate funds to it and the project was unable to move forward.
At this point, dotsure.co.za reached out to George Acting Municipal Manager, Dr. Michelle Gratz, and Head of the Task Team and George Fire Chief, Neels Barnard, to offer the financial assistance needed to erect safety barriers.
“Many of our employees and partners make up part of this close-knit community and have been personally affected by the incidents at Voëlklip Road – this is extremely close to all of our hearts,” says dotsure.co.za Chief Operating Officer David Roache. “We’ve always believed that it is our responsibility to give back to our communities, so when we heard about this initiative, we jumped at the opportunity to provide assistance wherever we could.”
For over a decade, dotsure.co.za has championed outreach programs that provide funds, food, and blankets to people and animals in need throughout the Western Cape and beyond, so it was only natural that the insurer wanted to aid in the realisation of this lifesaving community-led initiative.
Dr. Gratz, Acting Municipal Manager, says, “Although the Voëlklip Road does not fall under the authority of the George Municipality, ongoing safety concerns resulted in the municipality facilitating the Task Team to investigate and implement remedial action. We are very grateful to dotsure.co.za for their generous donation, which allowed the identified remedial work to take place. The municipality was not able to spend any of its own funds as this was firstly not a municipal road, and secondly, the property is privately owned.”
On 3 March 2021, over fifty permanent 1,8m poles were erected along the curve at Voëlklip Road, and the Task Team had large rocks installed at the informal parking area where further tragedies took place.
“Beyond ensuring Voëlklip Road is safer for all who drive it in future, we hope that this brings a small sense of peace to all those who have lost loved ones,” says Roache.
“We can never undo the tragedies that have taken place, but this initiative is a reminder of the power communities have to make a tangible change when we all work together. We’d like to thank all who spearheaded and were involved in this initiative; we at dotsure.co.za are immeasurably proud to play a part in keeping our communities safe.”
dotsure.co.za is South Africa’s #1 rated insurer and supports a number of initiatives throughout the country. In 2020 alone, they donated over R1,5 million to the Animal Anti-Cruelty League and fed over 1 million people. Along with delivering better products, with better service, at better premiums, they pride themselves on working with their communities to create better lives for people and animals in need.
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