Which city has the worst potholes in SA? More than 18 000 respond

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 WELCOME TO BUFFALO CITY: Disgruntled East London resident, Inge van Dordrecht, sent us these images of potholes in her area. Image: Inge van Dordrecht ~ Wheels24

Cape Town - Earlier in October, we asked Wheels24 readers to share images and stories of potholes in South Africa.

Feedback has been overwhelming with many readers sharing images of roads in disrepair throughout SA.

These holes are commonplace throughout SA and are often the cause of hefty repair bills. Not only can hitting one seriously damage your vehicle but they can lead to deadly crashes. Sadly, as is the case with most service-delivery issues, local governments are often slow in remedying the situation. 

For some cities, such as Cape Town, it's an ongoing battle; the City of Cape Town says it "fixes 260 potholes each week".

Vote results

Wheels24 asked 'which major SA city has the worst potholes?' and our poll garnered more than 18 000 votes.

The results are in:

Johannesburg: 47% (8518 votes)

East London: 23% (4132)

Durban: 10% (1784)

Bloemfontein: 10% (1735)

Pretoria: 7% (1338)

Cape Town: 3% (591)

The majority (8518, 47%) believe that Johannesburg has the worst potholes. In a distant second place is East London with 23%, followed by Durban and Bloemfontein - both on 10%.

The province with least potholes? Cape Town with only 591 (3%).

READ: Reader pics - 'Potholes deep enough for pot plants!'

Readers respond

From Cape Town to Phalaborwa, here are pothole stories from Wheels24 readers.

Andrew Wilkinson: For Cape Town (and maybe elsewhere?) you send an sms to the following number: 0860 103 054.

Then, like magic, it gets fixed within 30 days. (Usually much quicker.)

There are no potholes on any roads that I use. Why? Whenever I see a pothole I simply send an sms, saying (for example):

"Potholes: several spotted 2015-07-20 in Draper Street, Claremont. (Between Main Rd and railway line)".

I then get an sms back (within a day) stating: "Your C3 notification number is 1010074520 (Potholes): For a follow up, you may contact Hillstar Depot on 021 762 5823. From TIC"

The sms method is extremely quick. One can simply re-edit the last one or add more detail like closest property number GPS coordinates if the road is long. 

I have sent dozens of sms reports over the past three years and the roads that I drive on now have NO potholes. As soon as one appears (usual towards end of winter), I send an sms.

Road users should be informed of the sms method. In Cape Town it works well.

Dirk Benade: Very few people know that damage caused by a pothole could be claimed from short term vehicle insurance.

As a retired short term insurance broker I once handled such a claim and the it was settled successfully.

The client drove to Kuruman with his Mercedes-Benz and hit a pothole. He took the car for wheel alignment checks on two occasions, but both times nothing was discovered. A couple of months after the incident he took the car to for a service. The service centre phoned and informed him that he could not drive with the car, because the left mounting of the shock absorber had hairline cracks.

He made contact with me and I, in turn, made contact with the insurer's legal department; who assured me they would resolve the matter. The insurer will pay the claim and recover the costs from the Provincial Government if it happened on a national road or local municipality where the incident happened.

The client provided the insurer with photos of the shock absorber's mounting, the tyres and an avidevate of the incident. The incident happened around six months prior to lodging a claim. It is advisable to report any pothole damage it to the nearest police station, and get a SAPS Case number.


Do you have any experiences with potholes in your area? Email us or get in touch via Facebook  and Twitter.
Image: Inge van Dordrecht

Amanda Reyneke: Yes, Hartbeespoort is riddled with humongous (most of the time) potholes - one almost every few metres. Lately it seems that something gets done, but it usually only lasts until the next major rain downpour. 

At one stage there were roads that could not be used anymore (road between Meerhof and Ifafi) and residents offerred to pay for the upgrade. Then it was one hell of a pilaba with the municipality and they would not stand for it.

READ: Having trouble with potholes in SA? Here's all you need to know

Many many months later they started to get to the point of fixing it (read: build a new road). This has now taken many months (maybe even longer than a year?) and they are still busy.

Due to that road not being operational the traffic on the main road in peak times sometimes takes you two hours to drive through Harties; something that normally would have taken less than 10min. Robots and stop streets were installed, but most people don't even treat it as such and just drive through at full speed without stopping!

Meagan Abrahams: Who is responsible for inspecting the work done after potholes have been repaired? Clearly no one, unless the standard is quite low.

Roads were "resurfaced" in Owen Road, Halt Road and 36th Avenue in Elsies River (Cape Town) and the finishes are pathetic. The roads are extremely uneven and a lot worse than what it was before.

Please can we have an inspector visit the area and have a look at how badly these roads have been resurfaced. I am still having to avoid potholes and dents, constantly having to swerve to avoid the uneven sections...

After the Elections, the roads were left as is. Pathetic!


Do you have any experiences with potholes in your area? Email us or get in touch via Facebook  and Twitter.

George D Meyer: I refer to the following roads that are filled with potholes:

  - The road between Mica and Phalaborwa in Limpopo.
  - The road between Dullstroom and Lydenburg, Mpumalanga.
  - The road between Lydenburg and Orighstad, Mpumalanga (shoddy repairs, substrate sinking on some entries and exits on bridges).
  - The roads in Phalaborwa, Limpopo.

Suzanne Ter Morshuizen: Thank you firstly for what you are doing.

I wish to bring to your attention the many terrible potholes along Louis Botha Drive, Florida Park, Roodepoort, Gauteng. They are especially bad in the section from the Afrikaans Florida Hoërskool, up to the robot where Louis Botha crosses Barry Hertzog Drive. It is a busy road and they are getting worse daily.

Derrick Wilkinson: Responding to your report, many companies get tenders to repair potholes, but they barely fix the road surface properly.

When fixing a pothole the first thing you need to check is if there is a bass failure in the road. Thereafter you can fix the damaged road surface. The second thing is to check if there is sufficient drainage for the water on the side of the road. Thirdly assess if there is standing water on the shoulder of the road.

These are the things to check before fixing a pothole.

Anne Ekstein: Marigold and Small street in Putfontein are in shockingly bad states. We reported the conditions of the roads to the Benoni-khuruleni's roads department on a weekly basis. They have been grading the top half of Marigold, which is a tar road, but the middle section just never gets attended to and they fill the bottom half with tar.

This is never one operation and takes place over several weeks. It's a busy residential road and there are businesses along this road. Less congested roads are never attended too and will very shortly be in the same position as Marigold.

They have recently put up street lights, but the money would have been better spent repairing the roads.