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How much money government spent fixing potholes in the last 6 months

The National Department of Transport (DoT) spent in excess of R3.65 billion over the last six months repairing the country’s crumbling roads.

Responding to a parliamentary Q&A from Inkatha Freedom Party’s KP Sithole, the minister of transport Sindisiwe Chikunga said the number of potholes on roads that fall under her administration repaired in each province in the past six months amounted to 1,291,442m², the bulk of the patching happening in KwaZulu-Natal.

To be exact, the DoT’s expenditure was recorded at R3,650,251,022 for the six months ending September, accounting for roughly 29% of the total Provincial Roads Maintenance Grant of R12,665,440,753.

Per province, the six-month expenditure on road repairs and the area of roads that were restored were:

Province Potholes patched Budget allocation Six-month expenditure
Eastern Cape 112,286m² R2,057,539,888 R472,776,761
Free State 20,000m² R1,337,642,000 R347,299,000
Gauteng 213,321m² R680,058,000 R61,111,024
KwaZulu-Natal 500,000m² R3,309,978,000 R673,500,452
Limpopo 139,925m² R1,280,899,865 R551,826,653
Mpumalanga 141,186m² R905,915,000 R272,084,082
Northern Cape 23,676m² R1,064,972,000 R491,859,499
North West 94,996m² R1,068,127,000 R265,741,551
Western Cape 46,052m² R960,309,000 R514,052,000
Total 1,291,442m² R12,665,440,753 R3,650,251,022

It must be noted that these figures not only account for potholes, but also for general road maintenance.

“There was no specific budget allocated for the pothole repair/maintenance of the provincial road network for the six-month period, however, provinces are allocated the maintenance budget as provided in the table above of which blacktop patching and pothole repairs form part of 2022/23 financial year,” said Chikunga.

“This budget covers the entire maintenance of provincial Strategic and Secondary road networks inclusive of blacktop patching and pothole repairs.”

New pothole-repairing trucks for KwaZulu-Natal

Pothole insurance claims soar

Despite the DoT’s steep spending on mending roads in 2023, Santam, South Africa’s largest insurer, has experienced a sharp increase in pothole-related claims through the first 10 months of the year.

Between January and October, these claims soared by 40% in comparison to the entirety of 2022, which is expected to increase even further as the rainy season approaches, said Thabo Twalo, Santam Head of Commercial Underwriting.

The insurer also revealed that the average cost of a pothole-related insurance claim currently sits between R20,000 to R25,000.

Claims of this level are generally a result of a substantial impact with a pothole and include the replacement of two or more tyres, repairs on bent rims, and, occasionally, suspension refurbishments.

“Those costs can add up, and of course, with inflation as well, we see that those costs are increasing over time,” said Twalo.

In some cases, Santam has been able to prove that the municipality was negligent with regard to road repairs and recover a portion of the money it spent on paying out a claim, assisting the insurer to “keep the average cost of claims manageable,” said Twalo.

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