KwaZule-Natal residents protest about potholes on the Curry’s Post Road. Photo: Facebook

DA pothole fishing protest catches the rage of the ANC

The ANC has lambasted the DA alleging that pothole protestors contravened Level 3 Lockdown regulations at the recent protest.


KwaZule-Natal residents protest about potholes on the Curry’s Post Road. Photo: Facebook

A tongue in cheek “pothole” fishing competition to raise residents concerns about collapsing road infrastructure along the Curry’s Post Road near Howick in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands has instead raised the ire of the ANC led Umgeni Municpality.

Democratic Alliance (DA) councillor Hazel Lake told The South African that residents in the largely farming and tourism dependent region were “desperate” to get the municipality’s attention to fix the dangerous potholed roads in the area. 

“This weekend residents on the Curry’s Post road held a tongue in cheek pothole fishing competition,” Lake said.

Residents sat with fishing roads on the road about 3km outside Howick.

“It is a busy tourist road with lots of nice things for tourists to do which is why it is so frustrating that Bed and Breakfasts,  coffee shops and other tourist facing businesses are having to use this dreadful and dangerous road,” she said.

Democratic Alliance councillor, Hazel Lake

Pothole damaged roads a nightmare

“ I have been trying to get the road repaired for well over a year. The road is damaged by big forestry trucks and now there are massive potholes and you have to crawl along avoiding potholes,” Lake sai

She added that Robin Road was also in a “shocking state”, while Symmonds Lane in Ward 5 was unnavigable due to years of no maintenance. 

Lake said the municipality had budgeted 7,6 million for road maintenance in the current financial year.

“At the time we said that’s never going to be enough. We need three times that to maintain the roads. When you have not been keeping up it builds up and gets worse and worse and it gets out of control. We really need more budgeting,” Lake said.

She said residents who were contemplating repairing the roads themselves were reluctant to pay property rates to the municipality due to the lack of service delivery.

“We will push in the new budgeting period to get more money for the roads. People are losing money cos they are breaking their cars. I went to inspect the Curry’s Post road and hit a pothole and it cost us about R5000. It is really not fair to residents who getting desperate. We need our roads fixed in Umgeni Municipality so we don’t damage our ours and won’t be in danger when they are trying to use a road and have to drive on the wrong side,” she said.

Fishing protest a “mockery”

Umgeni Municipality spokesperson spokesperson Thando Mgaga labelled the protest as a DA “stunt” and a “blatant mockery” of people who had lost their jobs due to Covid-19. She also alleged that some of the protesters had contravened Disaster Management Act regulations by not wearing masks and drinking in public.

“The media headline grabbing attempt shamefully put the lives of members of the public at risk as gatherings were also prohibited, for what one can term as failure by the DA Councillor(s) to meaningfully engage its members on achievements, challenges and plans of the municipality when it comes to service delivery,” she said.

“The opposition is part of deliberations in portfolio committees and Council but instead of engaging implicitly on reports brought to these committees they opt instead to make a mockery of the adherence to Covid-19 protocols for undeserved political traction.”

She said uMngeni Municipality had adopted an adjustment budget on the 24 February 2020 which outlined that budgeted operating revenue has been decreased from R 456,1 million to R 449,7 million while the budgeted operating expenditure has been reduced by R6.3 million from R456,2 million to R449.9 million.  

“Part of the reasons for adjusting the budget down included not meeting the revenue collection targets, foregoing of library fines due to the facilities being closed for a while due to Covid-19. The municipality was unable to generate revenue from hiring out of community halls to the public as these halls have largely remained unused since the arrival of Covid-19,” she said.

Mgaga outlined the municipalities plans to fix potholes:

  • Phase I of pothole repairs has commenced although the project has been delayed by the recent heavy rainfall.  
  • The Council approved further funding for further pothole repairs including Phase II of pothole repairs on the same road during the tabling of its adjustment budget on 24 February.
  • uMngeni municipality repairs 2500 square metres of potholes a month and 7500 square metres per quarter.
  • In November and December 2020 the municipality repaired 6500 square metres of potholes.
  • Funds have been allocated in the adjusted budget to resurface three and half kilometres of road.