Pothole busters get going

2019-02-13 15:15
Msunduzi Mayor Themba Njilo trying his hand on the Pro-Phalt equipment on Leinster Road on Tuesday where the contractor is repairing potholes.

Msunduzi Mayor Themba Njilo trying his hand on the Pro-Phalt equipment on Leinster Road on Tuesday where the contractor is repairing potholes. (Nokuthula Ntuli)

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Msunduzi has finally honoured its promises to appoint a contractor to repair the potholes that frustrate many drivers around the city.

This is part of the recently launched clean-up and urban renewal programme.

on Tuesday four teams from Pro-Phalt reported for duty in Scottsville and Edendale where they will be filling up dozens of potholes over the next month.

“We want you to do a genuine job, not a rushed through [job]. You are not here to just tick the boxes, you must change the life of the road,” said mayor Themba Njilo when he visited one of the sites on Leinster Road.

Site manager Gerard Lowe said if the pothole lifted up within the next month, the company would come back and fix it at its own cost.

“I give you my guarantee that a pothole repaired by us will never give you a headache again,” he said to Njilo.

He said the city centre and Greater Edendale had been identified as problem areas so their teams started there.

Each of the four vehicles contracted by Msunduzi is expected to cover between 50 to 60 square metres a day.

Lowe said the company was using a self-contained infrared system that was faster, more cost effective, and environmentally friendlier than traditional surfacing repair methods.

“We work very fast and our process is cleaner because we don’t dig out anything. We heat the tar for eight minutes before topping up with our mix … The whole process [of repairing a pothole] takes about 12 minutes then we move on to the next one,” said Lowe.

Acting chief financial officer Dudu Ndlovu-Gambu said R10 million was allocated to fixing infrastructure during last month’s mid-term budget adjustment. She said that included potholes and traffic signals.

She said the contract with Pro-Phalt was on a “rates basis” and dependent on the availability of funds.

Njilo said some of the potholes that had become a source of the City’s headache were caused by the contractors installing telecommunication cables and other infrastructure.

He said they dug up trenches then left them open after completing their installations.

“The trenches might be small when they leave but they widened over time due to rain and cars driving over them. The municipality is then left with no choice but to repair them or risk legal action from car owners when their vehicles get damaged,” he said.

Njilo said council recently approved the wayleave bylaw (see page three) which would assist the municipality in holding unscrupulous contractors accountable for the damage they left behind.

The City’s administration also told the media that other aspects of the urban renewal programme were also on track.

The task team, including waste, enforcement and environmental health, have been out in full force cleaning up the city’s streets since January.

Chairperson of the community services portfolio committee Sphamandla Khumalo said those who were found flouting municipal bylaws had been given notices. He said there had been questions about the sustainability of the municipality’s plan to remove the stigma of the being “dirtiest city” and there was a strategy in place.

He said there were maintenance teams in place to ensure the city did not disintegrate to how it was before the scrubbing task team did its work.

On the challenges encountered, Khumalo mentioned the theft of the City’s water and electricity.

“We have declared war on these challenges and we will do everything to ensure that they are addressed today, not tomorrow.”

Speaker Jabu Ngubo urged the people of Msunduzi to be protective of the spaces they occupied and facilities they used. She said a change in people’s attitude was the first step in dealing with the problems of urban decay.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  potholes
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