The Department of Transport is developing a new policy proposal which will allow more private companies to fix potholes in South Africa, says minister Fikile Mbalula.

Briefing parliament on Tuesday (7 June), Mbalula said the proposal follows the successful partnership between the City of Johannesburg and insurers Discovery and Dialdirect to launch the pothole patrol service.

The insurers said that the initiative aims to reduce the frequency and severity of road accidents across the city for insured and uninsured drivers alike. It will also help the city align with international road safety standards. The groups have subsequently launched an app allowing drivers to report potholes using geolocation data.

“Ultimately, this effort boils down to making more of our roads safer to use, more often – one pothole repair at a time,” Discovery said.

“By sufficiently fixing road infrastructure in this way, this joint partnership will effectively contribute to reducing the severity and prevalence of road accidents that occur as a result of pothole involvement. For insured and uninsured road users alike, the Pothole Patrol team is set to make a positive difference that can truly impact the lives of road users in a positive way.”

Mbalula said that future public/private partnerships will likely be conducted directly with the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral), which is responsible for overseeing a significant portion of the country’s road infrastructure.

“We are rolling out a comprehensive programme to address potholes across all spheres of government, with Sanral leading a labour-intensive campaign in the coming weeks,” Mbalula said.

“We will be implementing an integrated rigorous and comprehensive plan that will drive this intervention to ensure that we improve the overall condition index of our roads. This is an immediate task we will undertake in partnership with all spheres of government.”

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