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Joburg’s Weltevreden Park residents fix potholes themselves for R10k

Because the Joburg Roads Agency has been ‘socially distancing’ from the community for the last year.
Getting the job done. Image: Supplied

If you’re a Joburg resident, you might have noticed the untended potholes in the area where you live.

The Panorama Residents Association (PRA) in Roodepoort to the west of Joburg says it tried every avenue to get the potholes in its area fixed, to no avail. Despite escalating their complaints up the chain of command at the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA), the potholes multiplied, until it became too much for residents to bear.

They complained of buckled wheel rims until they could take it no longer.

The association realised the JRA wasn’t going to get to the job any time soon, so it took matters into its own hands.

For the princely sum of R10 000, the PRA went out and bought one ton of pre-mixed tar and got some local residents to volunteer their time, while a local company EC Security provided a machine and labour to compact the tar.

One day later, nearly 100 potholes on the key arterial routes had been filled.

The association is funded by R250-a-year membership fee. Image: Supplied

Oddly enough, a day after starting their volunteer project, the JRA must have read about it in the local Roodepoort Record, because suddenly it sent out a team to start mending potholes in the area.

The PRA is responsible for the area bounded by Jim Fouché Road, Hendrik Potgieter Drive, Tennis Road, JG Strydom Drive and the N1 highway.

Chair Dave Baxter says the association is funded by R250-a-year membership fee, which is used to clear overgrowth near sidewalks and green areas, mend fences in public spaces and, now, to fix potholes.

This does not include a 64-strong volunteer force involved in local community policing to keep crime under control.

‘Broken window’ policy

Baxter has been monitoring crime stats in the area for years and says these combined efforts have resulted in a 20% drop in local crime rates. “The Covid lockdown certainly helped because everyone was under curfew, but we have found that keeping the area clean and neat also helps keep crime away.”

Baxter and his fellow PRA members are strong advocates of the ‘broken window’ policy which is credited with reducing crime in New York City during the 1990s by addressing minor infractions such as loitering and public drunkenness.

In other words, fixing broken windows creates a sense of order which makes residents feel safer, whether or not crime rates are actually reduced.

One of the authors of the ‘broken windows’ policy, the late George L Kelling, discovered that putting police on foot patrols, rather than in vehicles, also creates a sense of safety and wellbeing.

Community policing

SA has experimented with community policing forums, and some still exist around the country, but many areas are now policed by private security firms, in part because of an overstretched police force. This study also suggests that the police have some work to do to build public trust.

Community policing has made a robust comeback, with the support of the PRA and its 12 neighbouring residents’ associations.

The Honeydew Community Policing Forum is headed by 67-year-old real estate businessman Jon Rosenberg, who has built a 64-strong volunteer force that patrols a large area to the north and west of the city. It is this ‘eyes and ears’ on the ground that has reduced crime by an estimated 20% since the volunteers started patrolling the streets. It also provides victim support when needed.

Rosenberg says community policing forums fell into disfavour in parts of the country due to cowboy-type behaviour among some volunteers.

“This is why we put our volunteers through basic and ongoing training to make sure they know what they are allowed – and not allowed – to do,” he says.

“We are there to assist the police and report suspicious behaviour when we spot it. Our volunteers are kitted out with uniform shirts and jackets, and soon we will be providing bullet-proof jackets. Unfortunately, the criminals of today are often armed and think nothing of shooting a member of the public, so we have to take steps to protect ourselves.”

That’s one example of local residents taking back their streets.

Parallel service delivery

As Moneyweb previously reported, Free State residents of the Lesotho border town of Ficksburg have started to run a parallel local government because of the perceived ineptitude of the local municipality. Funded by residents and local businesses, they send out teams each week to clean up litter and clear overgrown brush from the side of the road. This had the effect of driving criminals, who had taken sanctuary in the overgrown brush, out of the area.


The Institute of Race Relations (IRR), under its #StopCitizenAbuse campaign, has adopted the PRA programme and wants to see similar campaigns being replicated across the country.

Says Amy-Claire Morton, spokesperson for the #StopCitizenAbuse campaign: “The IRR encourages communities either struggling with getting their municipality to attend to infrastructure and service delivery, or taking the initiative to fix things themselves and thereby acting to stop citizen abuse, to reach out to us.”

She adds: “Doing so will enable us to use such examples to inspire other communities and arm us with the real-life examples of citizen abuse that will help to put pressure on the government.”



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Well done. Becoming state proof is the only way in SA since the ANC is corrupt to the core and incompetent. We have to build our own roads, police our own areas and generate our own electricity. The only problem is that SARS steals the money we need to get this work done. What do we do?

Get prepaid electricity. Have some water storage and don’t pay rates. But at least 100000 households should do this. When the social distancers don’t get paid..they will get back to work

“social distancers”…..I LOVE these neologism’s 😉

And the ironical part of this whole or is it hole exercise is that it was done at a fraction of the cost that the municipality could do it themselves whilst it should be the other way round

Start a ratepayer’s association. Fix the problem with your own funds. Do not pay municipal rates and taxes to the amount of the cost you incurred. When charged, see them in court. Time for a showdown.

Agree 100%, come on Weltevreden Rate Payers – collectively withhold rates and taxes due to the municipality. Its time for this kleptocracy to crumble…..

Judge Dennis Davis says we should pay more.

more …. takthh

Well we know who pays him….

No he doesn’t

SA, the land of abundant opportunity

The more the ANC continue down the road of destruction, so much more will entrepreneurs from the minority groups rise to the occasion..It’s a fact!

I’ve always maintained Africa is the place to be..It’s easier to make inroads in Africa than in a mature First World Economy where everything functions

A dysfunctional system requires functional thinking

A new dawn has arrived..Long live the entrepreneur!

If every man does best for himself and for the group as a whole then we have what is known as the NASH EQUILIBRIUM…

… and to your point STATE PROOF

WE then have to question the need for a Government? What about the idea of multiple governments? Creating Competitive Governments? THe Political sector needs competition? Maybe South Africa should be split?

Excellent initiative by the PRA and community – well done and thank you!

Send an invoice for services rendered to the municipality. Then summons them if they do not pay

Just stop paying the Municipalities countrywide altogether.

It is being done in a small village on the South coast.

The municipality (anc) decided they needed to have a meeting about this and traveled at great expense to St. Lucia on the North coast to one of the most expensive venues around to have a meeting about something happening on the South Coast??????

The anc must just implode now and disappear off the face of the earth.

Our stupid ANC led municipalities think that by not providing services or maintaining infrastructure is good for redistribution but it is a failure.

You cannot allow infrastructure to collapse where in the areas where the people pay rates and taxes and yet redistribute the provision to areas where people don’t pay rates and taxes or even for utilities.

There is a value destruction effect and an economic growth destructive effect.

The actions of ratepayers put a serious question on the value of work done by councilors. The shows that they are basically dont do any work for the people that the represent. Another feature is that the money that COJ get out of the ‘paying’ wards / suburbs are used for other purposes whilst the debt just grow. At end taxpayers must pay for the debt as well! Sick circle of theft

Our ratepayers association has tabled a vote of no confidence in the ward councillor after 4 years of battles going nowhere.

They don’t care… Best is to stop paying rates and taxes and use the cash to fix local things then show them the receipts.

In the end we will have to do it ourselves. Most areas are going to the dogs now.

I know a French national who lives in South Africa. He once told me: “You South Africans are wonderful, you never expect the government to do anything for you. If you have a problem like load shedding, you go out and generator and fix the problem yourself. In France, it’s exactly the opposite. People constantly complain that the government is not doing enough for them.” That is one of the reasons why he left France: “Les gens veulent se plaindre tous les jours” – The people want to complain every day.

yea screw the french for holding their government accountable right? There’s a lot i don’t like about the French – but they know how to protest effectively to prevent corruption and tax wastage.

Guess “Frenchie” hasn’t paid enough if his euros into the SA coffers with a negative return on his cash, hey??!

In my area we are working with a company that builds roads. Guess what,
the potholes stay fixed.

No skills or management left at COJ.

Deduct the money from your tax. Your tax money is supposed to pay for SA.

So everybody must resign themselves to pay twice. Once to feed the looters and thieves collecting our rates and taxes and again to have the work actually done. We are just enabling thuggery, they have neither shame nor conscience.

This has been happening all over the country – apart from Cape Town

Goes to show that South Africans on the ground still care about the country and want it to work.

As opposed to the rapacious ANC that are so busy stealing that they allow the country to decay.

The fact that it’s R10 000 is very noteworthy. Has Julius or Ace’s cousins got the contract to do the repairs it would likely have cost R20 000 000 with some “commissions” being paid into obscure bank accounts.

Great effort! I think the only surprise is that this sort of thing has not happened sooner & more often. It is apparent that the municipalities are not capable so DIY is the only option.
Maybe in time rate payers associations & suchlike will develop into municipal services companies. Can you imagine – efficient service delivery!!

Excellent work, well done. Having driven through many, many towns throughout RSA recently it is quite clear that the majority of ANC controlled municipalities do not have either the operational ability or cash or willingness to do even the most basic functions such as road or traffic light maintenance or litter clearance and refuse management.

That is a simple and inarguable fact. It is also a simple fact that the only solution in terms of maintaining safe transport/work/residential environments is for private citizens to get on and do the work themselves. Residents Associations must become the prime civic organisers now in as many spheres as possible. Just the way it is.

Sure – people are happy to be custodians and stewards of their local infrastructure and services. As long as you don’t have to pay twice for the privilege of doing so..

‘Broken window’ policy is mistaken credited with reducing crime in New York, when in fact it did not. It actually led to severe intereference with the freedoms of minorities by subjecting them heavily to ‘stop and frisk’ and clearly biased policing by the New York police. The drop in crime in New York, if you care to read and understand sociological factors that contributed to a drop in crime, you should read Freakanomics. In that book the learned professor tells you that the seeds of a drop in crime in New York, were laid long before Rudi Gulliani became a Mayor and appointed this police chief who introducted a policy clearly discriminating against Blacks and Hispanic by subjecting them to ‘stop and frisk’. The drop in crime in a nutshell had to do with the permitting of abortion in the US in earlier decades! In resulted in criminals who would have been born to commit crime not being born and thus was largely responsible for crime dropping. Not ‘stop and frisk’ or the erreneously credited ‘broken window’ policy. if it had any role at all, it was miniscule to almost virtually nitl; except lead to a lock up of more minorities for no good reason. Even though stats show that police stop more blacks in America, find nothing on them,and lock them at higher rates than whites on whom they often find more contraband and weapons. Biased policing and incarceration basically. So, lets get it straight and right. Not transplant US policies based on wrong assumptions and conclusions.

I’ve read Freakonomics and I think you’re simplifying it a bit too much there. The daily cleaning of graffiti off the trains had a significant impact on the rates of graffiti. Stopping people from jumping the turnstiles in subways did induce a sense of law and order (stopping the small crimes stops the big crimes).

Don’t let your liberal ideology get in the way of a solid law and order argument. And SA is very different from the USA in either case. Fixing fences, roads and doing community policing/patrols will have significant effects on the utility of an area.

If you want to scapegoat with cries of ‘racism’ by making false parallels with the justice system in the US, instead of holding our government accountable for service delivery, then go ahead. The rest of us see through the spin

Unless you are arguing that the introduction of Abortion and permitting it did not have any impact on crime, by in effect aborting those criminals who could have been born, then I would understand your point. A proper analysis of crime statistics, show that crime was declining across American major and minor cities, wo what does that have to do with Guilliani and Kelly policing New York with draconian measures and violating the civil rights of mostly minorities in their pursuit of ‘broken window’ policy with their ‘stop and frisk’ tactics. Nothing, nada. The most rational explanation is the fact that abortion was introduced in the US and accounts for that measurable decline overall.You would have had the police doing their work and stopping this or that crime but you can’t argue that, all that substantial crime that appears everywhere is because of policing in New York – this is what police claim to increase their budgets and powers but is now borne by evidence on the ground and proper analysis of crime stats. I rest my case. Thanks for your rebuttal though.

FACT: in the USA, the majority of crime is DISPROPORTIONATELY committed by the “minorities”.

FACT: in RSA, the majority of crime is DISPROPORTIONATELY committed by the “majority”

FACT:in both cases, the root cause driving crime (and virtually ALL other social ills in these communities) is the preponderance of irresponsible pregnancies by young girls who are wholly unfit to properly parent their babies at such a young age.

FACT: these ill-disciplined, badly-brought-up children then grow up into being the same irresponsible adults their parents were, and repeat the cycle (and grow the circle of poverty).

Community leaders in these poverty-stricken areas ACTIVELY refuse to take ANY responsibility, or co-operate in ANY positive way to acknowledge – let alone fix – this problem!

If a group commit crimes at higher rates it logical that they will be incarcerated at higher rates. It make sense to focus resources on people most likely to commit crime. In any case, a Republican mayor brought down the crime in NY, fact. Not the same can be said about LA, Detroit, known for its garbage, tents, needles, high murder rates and high taxes. People are leaving California for states such as Texas and Florida. An Eastern cape Western cape scenario in the US.

Interesting observation….in fact educating the majority of South African on the benefits of birth control is the only way forward for a sustainable economic future here. Soon there won’t be enough taxes ( or taxpayers) to support the Grants system currently in place. In fact there won’t be enough to support anything…the way things are going!

“For the princely sum of R10 000, the PRA went out and bought one ton of pre-mixed tar.” I had no idea this stuff is that expensive.

Because it’s a small quantity. large roadworks companies (the types that get gov tenders) will get it for much cheaper at larger quantities, and yet still charge more than what private citizens would do the work for.

Looks like a very good deal, R10k for a 100 potholes?

I did 47 potholes in my road with concrete for less than R500. No additional labour required – And I am retired !!

This & many other reason, Honorable Judge Dennis Davis is the reason why SA hates paying taxes, because we get absolutely nothing for our taxes!

I’m just waiting to hear how fixing potholes and patrolling private neighborhoods is somehow racist and exclusionary

Govt/municipalities often threaten to sue residents who do this themselves.

But we need more of it!
It would be great if there was a resident’s body who took over in every district.
The councillors probably live in some swanky neighbourhood & house they shouldn’t be able to afford – and don’t even live where they “work” anyway. People who love in the area and own properties have a far greater interest in making sure it’s kept decent.

I completely sympathasise. But people, the “Institute of Race Relations”? Those guys deserve as little airtime as the EFF. If you believe that Trump is magnificent, global warming doesn’t exist, etc, through John whatever-Berman on politicsweb, you are in the same league as believing killing “white monopoly capital” will solve everything. Right answer, wrong journey

End of comments.



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