If what I experienced while driving around South Africa over the past two weeks is anything to go by, our country’s roads are suffering from some serious erosion.
From the south to the north, from west to the east, one is exposed to roads riddled with potholes.
Two weeks ago, I travelled to Lesotho for a funeral. Before I departed from Johannesburg, I asked for the quickest way to get to Maseru.
All three people I asked warned me not to risk using the road that goes through Ficksburg.
I obliged and took the long route, via Bloemfontein, quipping “better late than sorry”.
From Lesotho, I took a sho’t left to Sun City in North West, using the road to Bapong.
I was left disappointed with the condition of that stretch of road. It leaves much to be desired, needing resurfacing and an extension.
The only meaningful thing they have done there is add stoep-like speed humps, which you are forced to slowly negotiate, significantly reducing speeding.
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This is a high-volume road that connects Gauteng with Sun City, so why not invest in it and make sure it is fit for purpose?
North West Premier Bushy Maape, are you there?
From North West, I travelled to Lephalale in Limpopo, using the roads to Vaalwater, Melkrivier and Marken. Although none of them is as bad as the Bapong and Ficksburg roads, they are also on the brink of collapse.
This week, I was again in Ficksburg in the Free State. This time, I had no choice but to use the road that leads to the town – the one I was warned about before my trip to Lesotho.
I declare the R70 to be one of the worst roads I have ever travelled on.
To say navigating it was a mission almost impossible would be an understatement. You have to jay-drive.
You must zigzag on the road like a drunken driver. I was driving from one side of the road to the other, dodging potholes every few metres.
The R70 is one of the main roads that connect South Africa with Lesotho, so why does government neglect it?
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What I found particularly funny were the pothole warning signs along the road. Putting up warning signs is not a solution to the problem – and will never be.
Our beloved country has become an eyesore and a disappointment, and we should not let the situation degenerate further.
Something needs to be done – quickly. Is anyone listening? Does anyone even care?