Sanral fixing potholes in Matjhabeng ahead of the festive season
10TH OCTOBER 2022
BY: SCHALK BURGER
CREAMER MEDIA SENIOR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
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The State-owned South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) has partnered with the Matjhabeng municipality in Welkom, in the Free State, to repair potholes.
Provincial and local governments are strategic partners of Sanral, which is the lead agency implementing the government’s Vala Zonke project, which is aimed at repairing all potholes across the country in six months, the agency points out.
The operational Vala Zonke team in the Free State recently converged on the busy R70 between the mining towns of Welkom and Hennenman in the Matjhabeng local municipality and repaired potholes as part of plans to combat the yearly carnage on South Africa’s roads over the festive season.
Sanral executives, led by board chairperson Themba Mhambi, had established a roadside operation to repair potholes.
The Free State, which has long been dogged by the stigma of bad roads, mainly owing to the high volumes of trucks, has already fixed and filled over 16 540 potholes. The Free State department of roads and transport has allocated R736-million since 2019 to fill potholes, Sanral notes.
The intervention in the Matjhabeng municipality comes at a time when the local authority is battling to patch potholes in its six townships namely Allanridge, Hennenman, Odendaalsrus, Ventersburg, Virginia and Welkom.
Road safety was a priority and, in the construction of the national road network, it focuses on incorporating safety in that network’s design and engineering, Sanral stakeholder relations head Simphiwo Mxhosa emphasises.
“Managing and mitigating risks on our road network is a key deliverable. Proactive planning, design, construction and maintenance are benchmarked against industry best practice to ensure that our national road network can hold its own among the best in the world.
“Sanral identifies and addresses high-incident areas and the intervention came after the road death toll has seen hundreds of people killed on the country’s roads every December, with calls for stricter policing,” he says.
“We believe that the disciplines of engineering, education and enforcement – the three E’s of road safety – each play a vital role in reducing the carnage on our roads. As a road authority, the primary sphere of influence is engineering, but the agency also aims to change attitudes and behaviour among all road users through road safety education and awareness.”
Sanral is the implementing agency of the Department of Transport and will be working closely with provincial and municipal roads departments to roll out the programme, which is enabled through a mobile phone application that will allow members of the public to report potholes.
Extensive planning had gone into preparations for this year’s festive season. An in-depth analysis of road crash patterns had been undertaken to identify high accident zones along all roads to allow for targeted, informed deployment of resources, Mbalula says.
Sanral was determined to beat the six-month deadline that had been put to complete the potholes project by working around the clock with municipalities and provincial departments, Mxhosa adds.
Operation Vala Zonke is expected to end by the end of March next year and the department has submitted its road network data to Sanral to ensure that the app picks up the exact geolocation of potholes in the province, Free State Police, Roads and Transport spokesperson Hillary Mophethe says.
“Once this system is fully functional and all human resources trained, it will be effective in that once a motorist captures and registers a pothole, there will be an instant notification received on the system and a team will be dispatched to find and attend to the identified pothole,” she adds