South Africa: Limpopo Premier Wages 'War On Potholes' - but Only On Facebook

31 October 2019

Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha announced a "war on potholes" in his province on 23 October, complete with Facebook photos of trucks and road works machines apparently fixing the D2537. But hours after the photoshoot, the trucks, machines and workers had left.

With photos of trucks and public works employees in orange, the Premier's facebook page announced: "MEC for Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure, Dr Monicca Mochadi against this backdrop launched Operation Thiba Potholes at the D2537 route in Burgersfort. The operation will see the MEC conducting oversight visits to road infrastructure projects which are currently under construction across the province."

"'The Department has declared a war against potholes. This is also in preparation for the festive season which requires our roads to be completed, of good quality and in good condition,' said MEC Mochadi."

But when the MEC, the trucks and the road workers left, the D2537 was in the same condition, the potholes merely filled with sand.

The road has been damaged for years because of heavy rains, a lack of proper maintenance and traffic caused by rapid mining development in the area.

Motorists say the road is a mess. Police and emergency vehicles are delayed and vehicles battle to pass each other, says Aubrey Ngwatle, one of a group of motorists who are demanding that the Limpopo government fix the road.

"We find it very disturbing that the office of the Premier is spreading malicious lies on Facebook that they are fixing the road," he says.

Asked to comment, spokesperson for the Premier Kenny Mathivha said the Facebook post had been "deposited" by the office of MEC Mochadi. "We, therefore, advise that all questions related to that road and any other road be directed to the relevant MEC and Road Agency Limpopo.

Mabotha Mamoshasha, from the MEC's office, denied that the Facebook post might be misleading. "On 23 October 2019 at D2537 road from Penge to Burgersfort the MEC of Limpopo Public Works, Road and Infrastructure Sekutu Monicca Mochadi was observing a demonstration on a certain technology for potholes patching method".

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