Damage to vehicles from Makhanda’s potholed roads has driven many residents to take service delivery into their own hands.
One such resident is Thembinkosi Mancam, who has resorted to fixing the road, by filling potholes in J Street.
About a week ago, Mancam recruited five people to assist him in this project. He started by buying 15 bags of cement and with donated crusher-dust for the mix, he managed to get going.
So successful was the project that it caught the eyes of councillor Rami Xonxa, chairperson of the infrastructure portfolio at the Makana Local Municipality. Xonxa bought lunch for the men at work on the day of his visit.
Mancam has enlisted the help of the two taxi associations operating in the area, who together contributed a sum of R500 that helped to buy 10 additional bags of cement.
“We collected R5 from each taxi and donated to him because our taxis are getting damaged on the road,” said chairperson of the Border Alliance Taxi Association (BATA), Dole Kondile. Kondile said they would continue supporting Mancam’s road-fixing efforts.
Over and above the support from the taxi associations, others are also lending a helping hand.
Mancam told Grocott’s Mail that there has been a pledge of 50 bags of cement that he is yet to receive. Receiving crusher dust will help the project to continue.
Mancam says he has great hope for this initiative and closely monitors the team’s work.
Poor road drainage is one of the project’s challenges, however. He believes a proper drainage system will make it easier to maintain the road. He said the team fixing the road is not being paid for their efforts. Their work is temporarily on hold while they wait for material and they hope to resume working as soon as they receive it.
Mancam says he plans to visit the municipality to speak to the Municipal Manager and discuss ways in which they can assist their course.
Grocott’s Mail enquired from the Municipality’s Communications division what its plans are to remedy the state of the roads and whether they will be supporting Mancam and the team. No response had been received by the time of publishing.
Initiatives such as this one, which are centered on citizens doing it themselves, are not new to Makhanda. Makana Revive! is an initiative aimed at upgrading, maintenance, and provision of services to the citizens. Started in 2017 as an association of concerned citizens, it is now a registered Trust applying for status as a recognised public benefit organisation, according to its website.