Private companies team up to tackle pothole crisis in South Africa

 ·4 Jul 2023

Discovery Insure and Avis Southern Africa have joined forces with the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) to create a cross-sector partnership that will tackle the pothole problem in the city head-on. 

The partnership supports the Discovery Pothole Patrol in Johannesburg, which aims to identify and repair potholes on major roads in the city, ensuring safer driving conditions for all local road users.

The city said the Discovery Pothole Patrol initiative is “an example of the transformative approach the JRA and the city’s Transport Department are taking towards service delivery”. 

“Through partnerships and citizen engagement, we aim to create positive change for the greater good,” it said.

The impact of pothole damage in South Africa is substantial, with an estimated monthly cost of around R500 million a month. 

Discovery Insure has been at the forefront of addressing this issue, preventing pothole-related incidents, and saving their client’s potential expenses.

Zweli Nyathi, the Acting CEO of the JRA, affirmed the agency’s commitment to providing quality roads and safer mobility for communities in Johannesburg. 

“The extended partnership with the Discovery Pothole Patrol will contribute to the JRA’s efforts in maintaining and improving the extensive road network across the City,” Nyathi said.

The pothole patrol initiative was initially launched in May 2021 to address the severe pothole issue in Johannesburg.

Since its launch, the Pothole Patrol has repaired nearly 175,000 potholes and road defects in Johannesburg, resulting in a 26% drop in pothole-related claims compared to an increase in other areas.

Anton Ossip, CEO of Discovery Insure said that potholes pose a significant safety hazard, adding that the new partnership will make roads safer.

Ramasela Ganda, Group CEO of ZEDA and Avis Southern Africa, said every motorist and business must play a role in ensuring safe and reliable road conditions.

“By working with Discovery Insure and the JRA, the partnership aims to make a tangible difference in the lives of customers and society as a whole,” Ganda said.

Discovery Insure and Avis have established the Discovery Pothole Patrol Academy to enhance the effectiveness of the Discovery Pothole Patrol. This skills development programme aims to empower local youth with the necessary skills to contribute to road maintenance and create opportunities for improved income generation.

The Pothole Patrol uses technology, such as telematics and artificial intelligence (AI) software, to detect and categorise road defects accurately and efficiently.

This data-driven approach ensures informed decision-making and swift action in repairing potholes, benefiting both the graduates of the Academy and partnering municipalities.

The Discovery Pothole Patrol App has been developed to facilitate community involvement, allowing motorists to report potholes directly. Users can contribute to the ongoing effort to identify and repair potholes in Johannesburg by downloading the app from the IOS app store or Google Play.

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