Members of the Hewu Civic Organisation (HCO) took it upon themselves at the weekend to fill potholes in Ekuphumleni Township, Whittlesea, (in a road where the area’s biggest health facility is located) to assist motorists who have suffered major financial constraints due to its condition.
The filling of potholes is part of a bigger project started by organisation, to clean up open spaces which residents use as dumping sites.
HCO chairperson Sandile Mabelwana said they met with the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality (EMLM) Whittlesea office acting manager, Malibongwe Xhelisilo, who they informed of their intention to clean the area and fill the potholes in the busy road to the hospital.
“While the local authority fails to collect refuse, we decided to do our bit and clean open spaces where people dumped rubbish. The filling of potholes is an aspect of our cleaning project as motorists also suffered financially from the effects of pothole-ridden roads. Local taxi drivers who use the road on a regular basis constantly have to change tyres and take their vehicles for alignment due to the condition of the roads.
“We hardly have any tar roads in Whittlesea and the few that exist are in a bad state. We started with this particular stretch of road because it is one of the busiest and is quite a long stretch, so we only managed to work on about 2km.”
Mabelwana said members of the organisation contributed towards the material to fill the potholes, as did private individuals who support the cause.
“We decided to work at the weekend because the road had to be closed for a certain period to allow the concrete mixture to dry. Some contributed money and others bags of cement.”
The HCO is a non-political formation made up of several community-based forums that was formally registered in March this year.
It was formed to assist community members to participate in local government projects, encourage community development projects and to ensure service delivery to people of the area.
During alert level 5 and 4 its members assisted in the distribution of food parcels to the most vulnerable households and ensured residents obeyed the lockdown rules and regulations which included the wearing of masks, social distancing and washing and sanitising of hands on a regular basis.
EMLM spokesperson, Lonwabo Kowa, said the municipality commended and encouraged the organisation’s clean-up campaign after consultation was conducted and agreements made.
“However, while our office was still organising essential material to ensure the initiative complied with all safety and quality standards, members of the public began with the campaign. We encourage their involvement but due the non-availability of some of the material and insufficient safety measures put in place, our unit manager requested the programme to stall until everything was in order.
“We would like to stress to members of the public who fill potholes or plan to, that concrete material may not be used to patch tar roads and advice has been given to community members to wait for asphalt which will be provided by the municipality.”
Kowa said co-operative governance and traditional affairs MEC Xolile Nqata, and EMLM mayor Luleka Gubula would lead the clean-up campaign on Friday.