KZN south coast community start project to fix potholes

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 A community initiative on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast is filling up one pothole at a time.

The popular tourist, coastal region is among several across the country littered with deep potholes.

Dubbed Tidy Towns, the overall aim of the project is to clean up towns in the area from roads to beaches.

Residents took the initiative to the local municipality as a proactive solution. 

Tidy Towns is now the talk of the town.

A public private partnership is yielding positive results in the south coast. It started in Margate at the end of last year in a bid to bring about change. Residents approached the Ray Nkonyeni Local Municipality with their idea. Tidy Towns is made up of businesses and individuals across various fields who volunteer their skills, time, money and even equipment to solving a problem.

Communities on the south coast were not spared during April or May’s floods.

Some roads were completely destroyed.

William Tarume from Tidy Towns is an engineer who donates his time and expertise. He explains why they’re in favour of solutions instead of waiting for government to fix their roads.

“I’m a ratepayer number one and all my business is based here. It is part of our responsibility where we can assist, it is not like we are forced to do what we are doing we are actually donating our time and our resources in trying to assist because at the end of the day with the municipality, the ownership falls on us if our infrastructure is in dire situation we can’t function well.”

Similarly businessman Terrel Krishna volunteers his heavy duty equipment and his workers to repair some of the potholes. His team was on site in Shelly Beach to fix a sizeable pothole in the middle of a busy road near some holiday homes.

“Our business are in the community and the local people support our businesses so it is nice to give back without expecting anything because we have been here for so many years and we have lived off this land so it is our time now to give back. And it is a best feeling in the world to see an old lady passing by saying you know what guys thank you so much for opening the road, that is the best feeling a thank you goes a long way.’

the Ray Nkonyeni Municipality says while their working relationship with Tidy Towns is not formal, it goes a long way in assisting government to finding solutions for critical everyday challenges. Municipal spokesperson Simon April says the municipality has limited resources.

“With the limited resources the municipality cannot be everywhere and every time whilst we are fixing the areas so the Tidy Towns also assist us with fixing other areas. So you will find that there is more than two roads that are a priority and then we cannot be on both roads or in more than one road at the same time so Tidy Towns assist us in making sure that they are fixing the other areas it is a very good working relationship.”

The impact of poor infrastructure has negatively affected the once bustling and popular tourist destination of choice for many locals. This has left several local businesses struggling.

Simon Haupt is a local restaurant owner. He too jumped on the Tidy Towns initiative, saying they get the job done.

“Everything that is going on is affecting my business so I might as well if it is broken then fix it as the community just got involved and we are working alongside municipality and it been fruitful after the floods. We had in April there was a large section that was washed away close to the Margate area which was cut off the Ramsgate and Port Edward community, so yes Tidy Towns got involved and we managed to get it sorted. We obviously get things done in a much shorter period of time and I think it is great that the community really step up and got involved.”

Simply put, Tidy Towns is getting the job done, one pothole at a time.