Filling them up, one hole at a time

2011-05-14 18:48

When the men in orange are in the area, there’s a party in the neighbourhood – literally.

Faces start peeping over fences and the cool drinks and cookies come out.

The reason for the jubilation is because the Pothole Brigade is on a mission to fill up the holes in the road – a big pain in the eye for both residents and the government.

Frustrated citizens have taken drastic measures to cover up the car-damaging potholes that abound in Joburg.

One frustrated man actually took it upon himself and filled up the gaping hole in front of his house with cement – a good-intentioned but bad move because cement is not exactly the ideal material for the road surface.

To date, three teams of about five men with their Jetpacker trucks have repaired 17 000 potholes on all roads on the inside of Johannesburg’s N14 – from Rooihuiskraal down to Roodepoort, across to Germiston, up to Bedfordview, up to Sandton and across to Olifantsfontein.

“We needed to limit the area because of restricted resources but we do intend expanding to other areas and even make it a national initiative,” said Bradley Du Chenne, the brigade’s spokesperson and senior executive of Dial Direct insurance company.

He said the next target area would be chosen based on where the demand is the most.

The Jetpatcher, the pothole filling machine, has been used all over the world for 28 years, but it only reached our shores four years ago.

“The problem is roads built today are not built with the mind-set that they must last another 15 years,” said the Chief Operating Officer of the Jetpacker, Chris Hoöman.

While some potholes are repairable, others are not and these are referred to the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA).

To broaden the scope of repair, Dial Direct is also in partnership with Gauteng Provincial Department of Roads and Transport (GPDRT) and Trafficare on this project.

We followed the men in orange to a not-so-busy road in Randburg, Victory Park on Friday to see the them in action.

The whole process takes on average a record-breaking 15 minutes and the Jetpacker’s compressor operated at a speed of 100 km/hr.

The public can report potholes via or, by dialing *120*1551# or by visiting the mobi site – 

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