A lick of paint to cover potholes

2014-03-23 17:57
A pothole was painted over on Rostrataville Road in North West. (Elizabeth Sejake, City Press)

A pothole was painted over on Rostrataville Road in North West. (Elizabeth Sejake, City Press)

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Contractors have simply painted over potholes on a 28km stretch of road that cost the North West government R23m to upgrade.

The Rostrataville Road out of Sannieshof was upgraded and resurfaced with government money, but even as contractors were finishing the job, the new layer of tar was disintegrating.

As City Press watched, local farmer Juan Rousseau tugged at the tar with his bare hands and a chunk of road as large as a hand came away, revealing that the tar layer was only a ­couple of centimetres thick.

Merely walking on the newly resurfaced road easily dislodged gravel stones. On other ­stretches, potholes hadn’t even been fixed – ­dividing lines were merely painted over them.

Earlier this month, a site engineer from ­contractor Cebekhulu Civil Engineers fled when confronted by enraged farmers who ­demanded to know who they should blame for the poor workmanship.

"We cannot believe that this was allowed to happen," said resident Dawie Renieri. "The contractor is moving out and we want to know who is going to fix this mess."

Alfred Modise, one of Cebekhulu's locally employed workers, said: "You can see this road is not acceptable."

As part of the government’s road upgrade projects, contractors must appoint a large ­percentage of locals.

Modise said he was paid R13.33 an hour to surface the road, but claimed there were not nearly enough people to do a proper job. He said the company lacked equipment and sometimes had to "improvise" on the job.

Cebekhulu’s contract manager, Shumani Rambau, refused to comment and referred all questions to the provincial government.

North West Public Works and Transport MEC Raymond Elisha's office said work on the road had "not been signed off as complete".

Cebekhulu had, Elisha’s office said, been paid more than R19m so far "for work completed to date".

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