How about filling your own potholes?

2010-03-03 00:00

IF, like me, you’re tired of waiting for your local municipality to fill that ever-growing pothole, how about filling it yourself? I know it’s not your job, it’s the government’s — you pay taxes after all. However, when the government fails to perform its duty, it’s up to us, the citizens, to do something. Why not try putting your local government to shame, by doing its job for it? All you need is some cold asphalt, a shovel and a pair of motivated hands, together with these five easy steps.

• Cordon off the area

• Square off the edges of the pothole and remove any loose debris

• Fill the pothole with Tarfix Cold Patch (or any other product you can find) to a level of 20 mm above the hole

• Compact it using a hand stamper or plate compactor

• Open to traffic immediately

During my research, I discovered that there are many different types of cold asphalt mixes and, over the years, many have proven unsuccessful as permanent material, due to poor

aggregate selection, inconsistent manufacturing and incorrect use of bitumen binders, so the quality of cold asphalt becomes


Tarfix is the country’s leading producer of cold asphalt. The managing director, Kevin Mackinnon, recently concluded a deal with Massmart’s Builders Warehouse, which would provide nationwide distribution of his much-needed product. Tarfix Cold Patch retails at R39,95 per bag. When asked about the reasons behind the deal, he said: “Local municipalities are failing to fill the potholes themselves and hence it’s my belief that the market will move towards a do-it-yourself approach.” If citizens don’t, he adds, small competent contractors will fill the gap. This has already started to happen in Cape Town. Recently Democratic Alliance member of Parliament Stuart Farrow, who sits on the portfolio committee for transport, said Cape Town’s roads are in a better condition as the city used small competent contractors to repair the potholes. He also proposed a new fund for road maintenance to ensure a regular supply of funds to eliminate the backlog.

Meanwhile, during her State of the Province address, Gauteng’s Premier Nomvula Mokonyane allocated R505 billion towards the construction and upgrading of roads over the next five years. Mokonyane said this will be spent on the construction and maintenance of 1 500 kilometres of provincial roads, which, in turn, will create job opportunities. So should the motorists who have been dodging potholes for weeks be relieved? I think not. The province’s record on being long on promises and short on delivery is well


According to Veneshri Goldensamy, an attorney at Nafeesa, Kadwa and Associates, there should be no problem with citizen’s taking up their civil duty in assisting their local municipalities. However, should the citizen concerned fill up the pothole and it is later established that it was not done correctly and subsequently caused damage to a third party’s vehicle, he or she might be held liable.

That being said, I will fill up my local pothole and send a picture to the local municipality of the freshly repaired road with an accompanying note saying: “This work was not sponsored by your municipality” or “Pothole filled courtesy of private funding.” Any takers ?


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