Dirk Venter, a resident of Potchefstroom in the north-west, has taken it upon himself to repair two thousand five hundred potholes in the town at his own expense every year.
Dirk Venter says he is driven by a desire to keep the roads in good condition. The tail-effects of Covid-19 have led to waning support for Venter’s initiative.
Dirk Venter, 67, has been repairing potholes in Potchefstroom for almost ten years. He did this without the support of the local municipality, JB Marks, which is responsible for maintaining the city’s infrastructure.
Venter says he is supported by local businesses in the form of donations. But the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have caused these businesses to withdraw their support. That hasn’t stopped Venter, however, who says the sight of potholes worries him.
Dirk Venter says: “From the beginning, the potholes really bothered me and if you want to do it with your mind, you’ll never do it. You have to do it with soul and even you support something like that. You don’t have to think with your brain to support. You have to think with your heart, otherwise you won’t succeed.”
Venter creatively recycles leftover material dumped on the side of the road during road construction and uses it to patch potholes. He then uses donations to supplement the material if there is a shortage.
His good initiative has created jobs for five men, some of whom have lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Employees say they are grateful for such an initiative.
One employee says: “Because of the Corona and lockdown I got this new job because I lost another job. I was losing my talent because I knew this work, but now I know another talent and I am going forward with this work.”
“It’s a permanent job, it’s a permanent salary. The car protection I made is unreliable. After all, we are making the city beautiful again,” another employee added.
His deeds do not go unnoticed in the city. The residents of Potchefstroom thanked Venter for the initiative.
One motorist says: “He’s doing a great job for the city and we should be very grateful to him for what he’s doing for the city.”
“As a taxi driver, I have to say that he is doing a very, very good job and we are very grateful for what he is doing,” said another motorist.
Local municipality J. B. Marksa said five years ago that he was considering the possibility of cooperation with Venter, but, unfortunately, nothing came of it. Acting municipal relations manager Jeanette Tite says they have lost contact with him.
Jeanette Tschite, Acting Local Government Relations Manager for JB Marks, says: “Due to changes in administration within the municipality, there may be a loss of information over time and a breakdown in communication between the municipality and Mr Venter. However, the municipality supports any initiative that can come from any member of the community, which is done in the interest of our communities to improve their lives.”
Some roads in Lichtenburg and Mahikeng are also littered with potholes. Motorists ask the government to consistently maintain roads, to avoid potholes, which can be mistaken for ponds.
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