Partnering to defeat potholes

It has been all hands on deck since Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula launched Operation Vala Zonke in August. This 16-month campaign sees SANRAL partnering and working with local and provincial government officials as well as the public to ensure that potholes are repaired speedily.

This campaign will change the face of municipal and provincial roads from pothole-riddled to an acceptable state of repair. It will also create jobs and improve the country’s road infrastructure. The programme extends across the country with premiers and MECs in the lead, and will be closely monitored and assessed over the coming months.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula

Minister Mbalula urged the public to play their part by downloading the SANRAL Pothole reporting app, where they can upload pictures and provide a real-time location of the affected road on an interactive map. The app provides status updates using a pothole ticketing system. The information is assigned to the relevant authority, and the maintenance depot responsible for that road attends to fixing the pothole.


Download SANRAL’s Pothole app at the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.

View how many times the Pothole app has been downloaded and how many potholes have been reported at





Northern Cape

At the launch in the Northern Cape the MEC of Roads and Public Works, Ms Fufe Makatong, said there are many contributing factors to potholes. “Contrary to public sentiment, potholes are not only a symptom of roads that are not maintained. Like many other roads in the country, the R374, which is the main link between the R31 and the N12, has reached the end of its design life, and the ever-increasing heavy vehicle traffic does not aid matters.”

SANRAL’s Western Region Manager Randall Cable said that “No country in the world is without potholes. How we manage this, repair and then put a long-term maintenance strategy in place will determine the eventual state of our roads. SANRAL is committed to working with the Northern Cape Provincial Government. We commend them for the quantity and quality of the data that the province submits in order for us to accurately assess the state of the roads.”

“Operation Vala Zonke is also geared to address youth unemployment, as we are using students who have completed training in road construction, to work on the pothole repairs, along with our internal resources,” added Ms Makatong.

Eastern Cape

In the Eastern Cape, the MEC of Transport, Safety and Liaison, Ms Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe said the province was aligning their work with Operation Vala Zonke, and that the Eastern Cape Department of Transport planned to fix 65,000m² of potholes in the province and had set aside a budget of R49 million.

“SANRAL is taking over five roads in the province, which is great. We have done good work in the Sarah Baartman District Municipality, and we are busy working in Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality. We will continue to work in Alfred Nzo District Municipality. We try to work with the communities,” she said.

Free State

The Free State, the agricultural stronghold of the country which has long been dogged by bad roads, mainly due to the high volumes of trucks, has already fixed and filled an impressive 16,540 potholes – and plans to do more – as part of Operation Vala Zonke.

Hillary Mophethe, spokesperson for the Free State Department of Police, Roads and Transport (DPRT), disclosed that potholes covering a total area of 8,270m² have so far been repaired by teams from the DPRT, working with external stakeholders.

Free State MEC for Police, Roads and Transport William Bulwane declared that the Free State will be pothole-free in six months. “That being said, we must remember that all of us have a responsibility to make this programme a success. Instead of just complaining, let’s be active participants and change the situation by reporting these potholes. Wherever you come across a pothole, take a photo and upload it on the SANRAL app. The alert will immediately be captured and logged into the SANRAL system and the pothole will be attended to.”