Despite several inquiries made with Polokwane Municipality about the danger posed for motorists by unmarked excavations made in the process of repairing potholes, it appears the authorities do not regard the situation to be one that needs to be speedily addressed or resolved.
It is evident that the municipality does not ensure that the terms of the Standard Conditions of Contract that should be applicable to repair works of this nature or the service level agreement with the contractor are complied with.
Following complaints directed to Polokwane Observer last Thursday, an inspection revealed that a number of large excavated areas in Dorp Street were left without any warning signs, creating a very dangerous situation for motorists.
Passing motorist, Heinrich Viviers reported that he had to swerve onto the pavement to avoid collision with another motorist that had moved over into his lane to avoid a pothole. “If I didn’t swerve to the pavement, there could have been a serious accident,” Viviers said while he was checking his vehicle’s wheels for damage. At time of going to print, there were still no signs displayed, despite construction works continuing for the past week.
Polokwane Observer also learnt that the municipality’s contractor was repairing potholes in Marmer Street in Magna Via later on Thursday and visited the site. It was found that some warning cones and a warning sign were placed directly around the pothole that was then excavated, but no warning sign at the other excavations further on in the same street. The same situation prevails in Eduan Park.
A request for comment was directed to the municipality and it was also insisted that the municipality provide the name of the responsible contractor as well as the Strategic Business Unit (SBU) within the municipality that is responsible for the monitoring of the contractor. The municipality has not provided the information, but acting Communications and Marketing Manager Matshidiso Mothapo merely said that the contractor reported that the signage get stolen if left overnight. “The municipality remains steadfast that it is part of the contractor’s responsibility to ensure that the signs are replaced,” Mothapo said and confirmed that the contractor was issued with a site instruction to keep adequate signage on site.
“The contractor was given until this week to adhere to the instruction or face subsequent suspension of work which comes with penalties,” Mothapo reported on Tuesday.
“The municipality is doing very well with the road maintenance and pothole repairs in the city cluster following good rains and will do all possible to ensure the programme continues without any hindrances. The public can assist the process by reporting potholes and challenges with other road maintenance to the Roads and Storm Water Section on 015 290 2477 or 015 297 2473,” Mothapo concluded.
Story: BARRY VILJOEN