Cape residents asked to be patient as City tackles potholes backlog, Newsline

Cape Town – The City of Cape Town’s Transport Directorate is implementing recovery plans to attend to potholes after the hard lockdown and winter rains.

The City said that from 1 July 2019 to 26 March 2020 the transport directorate attended to 17 415 potholes at a cost of over R43 million.

However, when lockdown level 5 came into effect from 27 March 2020, roads and stormwater services were not considered essential services according to national regulations.

The City’s Portfolio Chair for Transport, Angus McKenzie said this resulted in the Roads and Stormwater depots reducing their workforce to only a small complement to attend to emergencies.

“The timing of the lockdown further meant that depots could not conclude the Winter Readiness programme, which is vital in preparing for the rainy season. Water ingress is one of the key contributors to the formation of potholes and the Winter Readiness programme focuses on clearing blockages or potential blockages in time for the winter rains.

“As a result, there has been an increased amount of water on the roads, resulting in an increase in potholes and the further deterioration of existing ones. The rainy season, which is not yet over, has seen a high level of rain which while welcome, has also further exacerbated the deterioration of our roads, especially in the absence of our Winter Readiness programme,” McKenzie said.

“As the rainy season continues, we primarily rely on a temporary fix as the road surface needs to be dry for the pothole filling to seal. The combination of the hard lockdown and rainy season has meant the City has not been able to attend to potholes as desired by both the City and its residents.

With the levels of the national lockdown lowered, the staff numbers at depots have increased to 70%. McKenzie said that all staff are expected to return in the coming weeks.

“While this is a great step forward in getting on top of the current situation, it must be borne in mind that depots, at times, have had to close when a case of Covid-19 is identified among the workforce. Depots will continue to close as and when necessary to allow for cleansing.”

He said that the transport directorate is focused on dealing with the consequential backlogs and seeking new and more efficient ways of delivering services.

“The City understands the frustration felt by our residents but asks for their continued patience while we tackle the backlog.”

Cape Argus