Marizka Coetzer
Journalist
2 minute read
15 Apr 2021
8:06 am

Limpopo’s failed airport doomed from the start

Marizka Coetzer

Elizabeth Sekuba, who owns a shisa nyama, said she used to get a lot of customers from the airport, but even her business is now crashing.

The empty Polokwane International Airport in Limpopo that has been downgraded from a category 7 to a category 2 airport, 13 April 2021. Picture: Jacques Nelles

 

Dirty dustbins, broken toilets and dodgy electricity connections are just some of the red flags which contributed to the crash landing of the Polokwane International Airport after being stripped of its wings.

A car rental company employee at the airport told The Citizen the airport had been bad from the
start.

“It has been going downhill for years now,” she said, electing to remain anonymous for fear of being targeted.

Since it was announced the airport has been downgraded and flights have been grounded, airport security has been removed and replaced by airport staff.

“I get embarrassed about the state of the airport.

“This does not resemble an international airport … anything but,” she said.

She added there was no electricity in the shop, which meant they had to have extension cables to run their daily operations.

“We were told a circuit breaker was damaged and there is no money to replace it at the moment,” she said.

The employee said when they moved into the previous shop space, also on the airport premises, half of the lights in the shop didn’t work.

ALSO READ: Polokwane International Airport: No soul in sight

Polokwane International Airport

Closed shops at the empty Polokwane International Airport in Limpopo that has been downgraded from a category 7 to a category 2 airport, 13 April 2021. Picture: Jacques Nelles

“We had an electrician out to come and look at the wiring. He said the wiring in the roof was made up of extension cords and illegal connections, which were very dangerous.”

Besides struggling to get a proper power supply to the shop, they have trouble getting paperwork, such as their rent invoices, from the airport.

Other complaints included basic maintenance, such as the overflowing dustbins, dirty and broken toilets, stray and wild animals on the premises and the lack of maintenance.

She said even though it has only been a week since the announcement of the downgrade, they were already feeling the impact.

“We are very concerned. We have been complaining for years but our complaints fell on deaf ears. Only at month-end will we be able to see the real impact the grounding of flights will have on business.”

She said she felt sorry for airport staff who were in the dark about what was happening. Two kilometres down the road from the airport is the lunch hotspot where workers from the area buy their food from the informal
shisa nyamas along Landdros Mare Street.

Elizabeth Sekuba, who owns a shisa nyama, said she used to get a lot of customers from the airport.

“Business has gone down a lot. We don’t see them like we used to,” Sekuba said.