Government declares war on potholes in South Africa

 ·6 Jul 2023

The Department of Transport, with the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) will soon launch a new Vala Zonke “War Room” to take on the country’s pothole crisis.

According to the department, the war room will monitor and manage all pothole repairs in the country, at the Sanral Central Operations Centre (COC) in Centurion. The new facility will be inspected by transport minister Sindisiwe Chikunga on Friday (7 July).

“Having reflected on the progress made, taken learnings from the processes, and addressed some of the practical challenges, government is highlighting its commitment to this campaign aimed at eradicating potholes across South Africa’s road network,” it said.

The new facility will feature a dedicated team from various clusters to coordinate the government’s ongoing efforts in eradicating the country’s pothole problem, as well as to monitor service delivery in repairing potholes.

The department launched the national campaign to fix potholes on 8 August 2022, with a call for a joint effort by the nine provinces and all 278 municipalities, comprising eight metropolitan, 44 districts and 226 local municipalities.

There have since been several activities across provinces to implement the project.

Sanral was appointed as the coordinating agency to drive the campaign, which included the harmonisation of all data and information on potholes and providing the technology and technical knowledge to ensure quality delivery of the campaign.

Sanral has since launched a ‘Pothole App’ for the public to report potholes easily.

According to the group, some 51,271 citizens have downloaded the app so far.

The Pothole App allows users to take a picture of the pothole, while the system automatically records the GPS location, eventually sending the information to the relevant authority, depending on the location.

Private businesses get involved

The launch of the War Room comes as more private sector companies get involved with taking on potholes in main metro areas.

Earlier this week, the City of Joburg welcomed Discovery Insure and Avis Southern Africa joining forces with the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) to tackle potholes head-on.

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

Discovery Insure’s 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.

Read: Private companies team up to tackle pothole crisis in South Africa

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