Severe road damage in S.Africa - CNBC Africa

Severe road damage in S.Africa

Southern Africa

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A pothole. PHOTO: Getty Images

Peggy Drodskie, chief operating officer of the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry told CNBC Africa that it is difficult to measure the amount of damage caused by rains as there are a number of challenges to address, such as potholes and dead traffic lights.

“It’s very difficult to put a number on it because it’s not only the potholes, it’s also the fact that the rain seems to cause a whole lot of traffic lights to [stop working] or to not change in sequence. Then there are those undeniably long delays in getting to and from work and deliveries are delayed so there’s pot holes, traffic lights and bad driving,” she explained.

(WATCH VIDEO: Impact of flood damage on business and consumers)

According to reports, Johannesburg, South Africa’s biggest city has had more than double its usual average rainfall for the month of March in just two weeks, while Pretoria has experienced its wettest March in 17 years.

Flooding has led to the deaths of at least 11 people and has also caused power outages after coal supplies of the country’s power utility, Eskom, were soaked.

(READ MORE: S.African power grid ‘not looking good’: Eskom)

Flood gates at Gauteng’s Vaal Dam were opened for the first time in three years

To add, In Johannesburg, the number of vehicles damaged by potholes has risen significantly.

“The council are apparently receiving many claims of vehicles damaged by potholes,” added Drodskie.

She further explained that local authorities are not fixing potholes appropriately, therefore causing, roads to deteriorate even more.  


“The potholes around Johannesburg are not being fixed appropriately. They are just filling them with gravel and throwing a bit of tarmac over the top because they haven’t stamped it down and put in a solid foundation. The very next rainstorm just washes everything away again so it’s a matter of having a system within the local authority whereby the potholes are actually fixed properly and not just filled,” she said.

Drodskie believes that the situation is a two pronged problem which local authorities may have not found a way to address efficiently as yet.

“Firstly, we need to look at the skill levels of the people fixing the potholes. Perhaps they haven’t been trained on how to do it. Secondly, there are so many potholes that perhaps they think it’s better to quickly fill them so the vehicles can start moving more efficiently over the roads,” she explained.