22 August 2023
Government could not care about R53 that is littered with potholes
Motorists be warned that you will face catastrophic damage to your vehicle if you try to drive on the R53 between Swartruggens and Ventersdorp that is littered with potholes in all shapes and sizes.
MISA, the Motor Industry Staff Association, has no alternative but to warn the public against using this road after the Union was sent from pillar to post in its attempts to report the road that is described by workshop managers as a vehicle’s worst nightmare. This road should be closed.
Motorists with alternative but to drive this road with a normal vehicle can be in for wheel alignment issue and damages to rims, tyres and its sidewalls, says Shannon Robertson, #MISA’s Chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal Regional Committee and Service Manager.
Vincent Krouse, Chairperson of the MISA Young Workers’ Forum, agrees. “What I have experienced is that we are continuously contacted after hours for flat tyres caused by potholes and there is a rise in estimates to clients for tyres, rims and suspension parts damaged.”
Martlé Keyter, MISA’s Chief Executive Officer: Operations, says one of MISA’s employees discovered the state of the R53 one night on her way to a hike at the Bokkraal Waterfall Valley.
“This comes five months after I urged that Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana’s budget of R142,9 billion to fund efforts to construct, upgrade and maintain the national and provincial road networks over the next 3 years, is not sufficient to even try to repair the estimated 25 million potholes on our roads.
“In April 2023 MISA repeated its plea to Government to find a solution to the pothole pandemic in South Africa after the carnage of 225 people dying over the Easter long weekend, in 185 fatal accidents.
“Three weeks ago Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga launched the Vala Zonke War Room to monitor and manage all pothole repairs and eradications in the country. But a provincial road in such a bad state, as that part of the R53, should not be open for motorists to use. At the moment, motorists are driving on the side of the road because the road itself is so bad,” says Keyter.
Another problem is the lack of accountability. The National Department of Transport referred the matter to the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) to double check whom the road belongs to. Sanral confirming that it is a provincial road.
The North West Department of Public Works and Roads who is responsible for the maintenance of the R53, is currently under administration.
Layton Beard, Spokesperson for the Automobile Association (AA), says this is a bad situation and extremely problematic for the economy and road safety.
“Our advice to motorists is to a) be aware of the problem areas on their routes, and b) to avoid these if possible. If it's not possible to avoid driving on these roads, it's advisable to drive with extreme care - preferably during the day when visibility is good.
“The AA is concerned that local authorities, who are responsible for the maintenance of these roads, aren’t doing enough to ensure good road conditions. This speaks directly to the allocation of funds for these projects, and to the available technical knowledge within local authorities to fix these roads correctly.
“The practice of repairing potholes by citizens is problematic. While it may seem like a good solution, and there are many people who are eager to provide their time and money for such exercises, it really is the responsibility of local authorities, that is why citizens pay taxes to municipalities,” says Beard.
Issued on behalf of MISA by Sonja Carstens, Manager of MISA’s Media & Communication Department.
For MISA Press Releases, phone Carstens on 082 463 6806 or email Sonja.Carstens@ms.org.za
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