• We cannot drive while on “autopilot” while doing other things such as using our cellphones, applying make-up or eating. Our article in Servamus: April 2021 explains why it is dangerous to multi-task while driving.

  • Do you agree that having more roadworthy vehicles on our roads will contribute to road safety and less crashes? If you don’t, read our Community Safety Tips in Servamus: April 2021 where we explain why we believe it would.

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By Kotie Geldenhuys

Desperate to get the Umgeni Municipality’s attention to fix the dangerous potholes on the roads in the Howick area in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, residents participated in a tongue-in-cheek pothole fishing competition at the end of February 2021. This “competition” was hosted to voice their concerns about the collapsing road infrastructure along the Curry’s Post Road, a busy tourist road in the area (Govender, 2021). Although this was meant as a mockery of the municipality’s seeming inability to fix the potholes in the area, potholes across South Africa’s ageing road infrastructure are a big concern. They not only damage vehicles but also cost road users their lives.

Motorists are constantly confronted with poor road conditions and the threat of the dreaded pothole. Over the past few years, potholes have developed at an enormous rate on South African roads. According to the South African Automobile Association (AA), as much as 60% of South Africa’s 535 000 km road network have potholes or are in need of maintenance (De Villiers, 2018). In some areas, pothole repairs are swift, while in others, it may take months if not years to repair a pothole. Another big problem might be the quality of the repair to potholes, which often only lasts until the next rain shower.

Factors that contribute to the formation of potholes
Potholes are caused by the expansion and contraction of groundwater when water enters the ground under the road surface. The weight of vehicles which pass over the weak spot in the road will cause the tar of the road to be displaced or break down and create a pothole (Summit County Engineer, 2020). The increase in potholes can be attributed to reduced maintenance of many roads, combined with weather conditions such as higher than average seasonal rainfalls and changes in temperature. Apart from these factors, overloaded trucks and buses are also a big problem.

Heavy trucks cause the road surface to crack. Water then flows through these cracks into underlying layers which causes the loosening of the material, that eventually collapses and results in a pothole. It is therefore important that overloaded trucks and buses are addressed. This involves the effective control of traffic loading to ensure that it does not exceed the design loading (Paige-Green et al, 2010) and enforcement at weigh bridges.

Potholes not unique to South Africa
The pothole problem is not unique to South Africa. In fact, in 2018 it was reported that 2.2 million potholes on UK roads were repaired over a 12-month period at a total cost of nearly £120 million (Evans, 2018). A 2017/ 2018 study conducted by Confused.com, which is part of a British insurance company, found that the total depth of potholes in the UK is 33 422 m, which is three times the depth of the Pacific Ocean. In the USA, one pothole was around for so long that a man from Kansas City, Missouri threw a birthday party for it in July 2019, with a birthday cake and a candle (Newman, 2019). In the USA, damage caused to vehicles by potholes, costs drivers an average of $3 billion annually. If one takes into consideration that the average cost to build an entirely new high school building in the USA is $45 million, it means that the Americans can build 67 new high schools every year with the money they spend on repairs to vehicles as a result of the damage caused by potholes (Goreham, 2019). It is clear that potholes are a global problem that affects numerous countries.

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[This is only an extract of this shocking article published in Servamus: April 2021. If you are interested in finding out how you can read the rest of the article discussing damage to vehicles; claims against the government; how potholes result in crashes and come at a high cost; as well as safe driving techniques on a potholed road, send an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..]

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Servamus - April 2021

They are all over our roads, they stop wherever they want to, ignore red traffic lights and are motorists’ worst nightmare.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
Desperate to get the Umgeni Municipality’s attention to fix the dangerous potholes on the roads in the Howick area in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, residents participated in a tongue-in-cheek pothole fishing competition at the end of February 2021.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
Road crash scenes do not make for a picture to remember.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
It is not unusual to hear or read about a serious or fatal vehicle crash where one of the drivers was under the influence of alcohol.
By Annalise Kempen

Pollex - April 2021

Read More - Alternative mechanisms required - S v Frederick and Another 2018 (2) SACR 686 (WCC)
Two independent and unrelated matters were referred for review to the High Court in Cape Town (“the review court”), at the same time and by the same magistrate (“the trial court”).
Read More - Booysen v Minister for Safety and Security 2018 (2) SACR 607 (CC)
This is a matter in which Mr Johannes Mongo, who was a SAPS constable reservist, shot and wounded his girlfriend, Ms Elsa Booysen.
Read More In the matter between - Ms Nomachule Gigaba (Née [born]) Mingoma - The applicant; and Minister of Police - the first respondent; Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation - the second respondent (hereinafter referred to as the Hawks); Maj-Gen M O Ngwenya - the third respondent and attached to the Hawks; Capt K M Mavuso - the fourth respondent and attached to the Hawks; Sgt Norton Ndabami - the fifth respondent and attached to the Hawks; National Prosecuting Authority (“The NPA”) - the sixth respondent; and WISE4AFRICA - the seventh respondent. Case number 43469/2020 ZAGPPHC55 dated 11 February 2021, High Court, Pretoria (GP).
The applicant in this matter, Ms Gigaba, is the estranged (Afrikaans: “vervreemde”) wife of the former Cabinet Minister, Mr Malusi Gigaba.

Letters - April 2021

After being side-lined for the past 11 months due to COVID-19, Captain Khumalo is returning to active duty. Captain Khumalo has returned to child-care centres and schools across Cape Town from 17 February 2021, to resume his mission of educating children on safety issues.
Die Bejaardesorgfonds vir afgetrede polisielede het op 5 Maart 2021 ‘n groot geskenk van die Klub79+1 groep in die vorm van ongeveer 600 gebreide blokkies en klaargemaakte komberse ontvang.
April Magazine Cover

Servamus' Mission

Servamus is a community-based safety and security magazine for both members of the community as well as safety and security practitioners with the aim of increasing knowledge and sharing information, dedicated to improving their expertise, professionalism and service delivery standards. It promotes sound crime management practices, freedom of speech, education, training, information sharing and a networking platform.