Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  22 Jun 2009

Travel: Introducing the Launch Of the "Adopt-a-Pothole" Programme


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This authorization, the first of many, has enabled Empowerment Gateway to launch the long-awaited Adopt-a-Pothole programme.

The Adopt-a-Pothole programme is a new Social-Economic Enterprise, which addresses key fundamental needs in South Africa, being road infrastructure maintenance and the alleviation of unemployment and poverty in local communities.

The South African government has many demands on its limited resources in an unprecedented economic crisis facing the world. The government has issued numerous requests over the years for civic society and the business sector to assist government in meeting the Millennium Development Goals in South Africa. Empowerment Gateway has taken this first step in an answer to the calls by government.

Empowerment Gateway is now inviting the business sector to participate as sponsors and custodians in the Adopt-a-Pothole programme, because a good local road infrastructure is a vital component in the everyday lives of the South African population, but good roads need proper care and on-going maintenance.

Sponsors of the project, now have an opportunity to immediately gain points in the Enterprise Development and Socio-Economic Development elements of their BEE Scorecards. SMEs with turnover below R35 million, can go from non-BEE compliant to a BEE level 6 with one project, and with very little effort. The Adopt-a-Pothole programme means that there is no longer any reason for a business to be non-BEE compliant.

The programme has been designed as a practical business and enterprise development incubator and it will recruit, train and mentor unemployed individuals as business unit caretakers, admin and support officers, and pothole doctors in the developing social entrepreneurship arena. The programme has the potential to create over 20,000 long-term (5-years or more) income earning opportunities nationally, while concurrently repairing over 6 million potholes over 5 years.

The impact for the South African economy will be huge and it will assist in mitigating some of the economic challenges facing the country.

The Adopt-a-Pothole programme, over and above addressing the serious issue of unemployment and poverty, will also assist road users in reducing typical costs associated with potholes.

Currently it is estimated that potholes are costing South African drivers over R20 billion in repair costs per year to repair damages caused by potholes, with the average repair cost, which includes replacement of vehicle parts and labour costs, being around R 5 000 per incident.

According to AA reports, vehicle parts most likely to be damaged by poor road surfaces include shock absorbers, axles, tyres and wheels. While it is acknowledged that the sudden jolt that results from driving over a pothole, can cause significant damage to other parts of a vehicle; the most concerning result is the effect of shock and distraction to the driver which often results in accidents and injury to its occupants.

In addition, insurance companies have confirmed that the state of the roads in South Africa has contributed to an increase in the number of insurance claims for pothole damage and they described the current situation as very serious.

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