With service delivery attracting more attention ahead of the local government elections in three weeks' time, Evaton West township residents in the embattled Emfuleni Local Municipality have been battling potholes for the past 10 years.
These potholes are so massive that some residents use them as swimming pools in hot days. This week social media users were left shocked by a video clip showing kids and adults using big potholes as swimming pools in the middle of the main road connecting the township to the Golden Highway.
When Newsnote arrived there on Tuesday children were still playing in the water.
Community leader in the ANC-led Ward 28, Simphiwe Khambule, said the government has failed them.
“This place has been lacking development. There are no kids' activities in the area as you can see. There are no libraries, there are no infrastructures as parks for kids to entertain themselves or to keep themselves busy. So it is such issues that we need to take on of which we have been failed by the government. I took it upon myself to report, I reported to SANRAL [South African National Roads Agency Limited], they told me to liaise with the Emfuleni Municipality, from which I haven’t gotten any response,” he said.
He said motorists are not using the affected road, but share the pavement with pedestrians.
“Taxis drive on this pavement which we walk on, and when it’s rainy it’s probably the worst situation that we come across because we have to walk along that wall that you see there [pointing at the wall]. We have to lean against the wall for the taxis or vehicles to pass on first,” he said.
Another community member, Denzil Khumalo, said the situation poses danger to the community and they are planning to close the road.
“Sometimes there are these unfortunate situations, just like last week one car almost went into my house because sometimes there are people who drive while drunk. They don’t care about the street potholes, so they drive recklessly. That's why we want to close this road until it is fixed,” said Khumalo.
One taxi driver said they don’t drive in the township when it's raining. He said it looks like they don’t care, but they are forced to avoid Evaton West.
“We have passengers who use wheelchairs and we can’t take them in, we drop them by the Golden Highway. So we are asking government to at least fix the road,” he said.
Ward 28 councilor, Nomsa Mooi, couldn’t be reached for comment as her phone rang answered.
Some residents say the pothole was filled after last week’s rains. The Emfuleni Local Municipality was put under administration in 2018 following a R1-million irregular expenditure. It also owes Eskom R2.7-billion.