Sep 20, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

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Watch | ‘Potholes for 41km’ – is this the worst road in South Africa?

When AC/DC said they were on the Highway To Hell, they may very well have been singing about the R58 in the Eastern Cape. The tragically maintained route is riddled with potholes – making travel between Elliot and Engcobo a near-death wish for many motorists. A number of serious casualties have been caused by the alleged ‘worst road in the country’.

Watch: The R58 and its many potholes

The 40km journey has been documented by Denis Duncan Schmidt, an Eastern Cape local who is gatvol with the poor conditions. Every time road users pull onto this stretch of the R58, they are taking a huge risk – and there’s very little in the way of alternative routes, either. Here’s what a drive on this road looks like…

Incidents pile up on SA’s ‘worst road’

It’s an absolute shocker. Locals have previously lobbied Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula to take action, but some infrastructure projects can only be overseen by regional authorities. Demands for help have fallen on deaf ears over the past few years, but things surely can’t carry on this way – given how many incidents have happened this year alone:

  • – In January, a single vehicle overturned while driving on the R58.
  • – Torrential rains caused a multi-vehicle smash back in March, as potholes filled with water.
  • – Last month, a tow truck slammed into a car while trying to AVOID the gaping holes in the road, injuring four people.
  • – Dozens of complaints are filed throughout the year, but there’s still no sign of provincial intervention for local road users.