Malgas Pont frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What are the rules applicable to using the Malgas Pont?
- The use of Malgas Pont is at the user’s own risk. The Department of Transport and Public Works (DTPW) accepts no liability for any losses related to the use of the Malgas Pont.
- The service will normally run from 06:00 to 18:00 every day. However, DTPW and the Malgas Pont operator reserve the right to stop the pont service for any reason whatsoever and without notice. Reasons for stopping the Malgas Pont service may include, but are not limited to, operational reasons, safety concerns related to the condition of the pont vessel, safety concerns related to loading the pont vessel, inclement weather, dangerous cross-winds, dangerous water conditions, dangerous tide conditions, and poor visibility.
- This service is free. No money may be offered or accepted for the use of this service. Any offer of money to undertake any action not permitted under these rules could be construed as a bribe and could be the subject of a criminal charge.
- Non-motorised vehicles or pedestrians will not be transported on their own across the river. Any pedestrians and persons using non-motorised vehicles such as bicycles will have to wait for a motorised vehicle to drive onto the pont before they can expect to be transported across the river.
How will adherence to the rules be monitored?
Cameras have been installed to monitor operations at the Malgas Pont site, to mitigate the risk of vandalism, and to log vehicle registration details.
Who do the pont operators report to?
The pont operators report to the Overberg District Municipality.
Are the pont operators properly trained?
The operators of the old hand-drawn pont have received accredited training and all now have their skippers’ licences. As soon as they have enough practical experience to cross the river without the cable as a guide, the cable will be removed.
May boat operators still use the pont slipway?
The pont slipway is DTPW property as it forms part of a public road. However, as a courtesy to the public, boat operators wishing to use DTPW’s pont slipway may do so, provided the pont is not currently using the slipway. Boat operators may not request the pont operator to move the pont to make way for their boats.
Will a wider slipway be built?
DTPW is considering the possibility of building a slipway that is able to simultaneously accommodate the needs of the Malgas Pont and boat operators. The construction of a slipway requires an environmental impact assessment and environmental approval. Even if approval for such construction were to be received, any decision to go ahead would depend on the necessary funding being available.
Why was the old pont replaced?
The old hand-drawn pont at Malgas was installed a century ago. The old pont was beyond economical repair and had therefore become a hazard to public safety. In addition, the old pont was not capable of safely transporting the heavy road and farm equipment of the present day. This meant that the old pont had to be decommissioned, removed, and replaced with a new vessel. The new pont’s carrying capacity has been doubled to 20 tonnes. It followed that the new vessel had to be motorised to also eventually remove the hazardous cable across the river.
Why is the cable still in place?
The cable spanned across the river is a hazard to public safety, particularly boats and recreational water users. The employees who used the cable to draw the old pont across the river by hand have received accredited training and all now have skippers’ licenses. The cable will remain spanned across the river until such time as the skippers have enough practical experience with the new vessel to confidently steer the pont across the river without the cable as a guide.
What about the heritage aspects of decommissioning the old pont?
The South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) advised DTPW that there are no heritage-related obstacles to decommissioning and removing the old pont. A heritage impact assessment was therefore not necessary before DTPW implemented its decision to replace the old pont for safety and operational reasons.
What about the environmental aspects of decommissioning the old pont?
The Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEA&DP) advised DTPW that there are no environment-related obstacles to decommissioning and removing the old point. An environmental impact assessment was therefore not necessary before DTPW implemented its decision to replace the old pont for safety and operational reasons.
Why is the Malgas Pont yellow?
The Malgas Pont is part of DTPW’s “yellow fleet” of road construction vehicles, and is therefore painted yellow. The decision many years ago to paint the fleet yellow was taken because yellow is the most visible colour and the intention is therefore to make road maintenance vehicles as visible as possible to the travelling public. For the same reason road signs displayed at road construction sites have yellow as background colour.