Potholes – the great debate

Pothole (n.) 1826, originally a geological feature in glaciers and gravel beds, from Middle English pot “a deep hole for a mine, or from peat-digging” (late 14c.), now generally obsolete, but preserved in Scotland and northern England dialect… Applied to a hole in a road from 1909.

Personally I like the urban legend better, because at least you can blame somebody:

“When Rome finally took Britain they built the roads as usual. The Brouillette never really succumbed to Roman order and it was at the end of the Roman reign anyway. When the Romans left Britain they left the roads, and the Britons kept them, because they were constructed well. They built on top of the Roman roads with a heavy layer of clay.
When times got tough the potters couldn’t afford to buy clay to make their pots, so they dug holes in the road down to the layer of that thick clay and stole it. In the morning, when the Teamsters drove by, and nearly wrecked the wagons in the holes, they cursed those damn Potters and the potholes anyway.”

Regardless of where the name originated it would seem that potholes are here to stay unless we can find a solution.

This is the reason for this Newsletter.
As the Civic Association we often get asked why we are not doing anything about the condition of the roads? The answer is both simple and complex. The simple answer is we just cannot afford it.

The more complex answer includes issues like liability & legalities, but I will not bore you with this at present because we need solutions.

To get to the right solution for Cape St Francis we need your input. We would therefore like to urge you to read the Newsletter and to complete the poll at the end of the Newsletter. Your input will allow us to start focusing on the best way to move forward.

3 Possible Scenario’s:

“The do nothing, because we are already paying our taxes and therefore are entitled to services” scenario.

Under this scenario we continue to see the disintegration of our roads. It is clear from the current municipal budget that there is little if any money available to fix the multitude of road related problems in the Kouga. This scenario is obviously the “scenario of least effort”.

“The act now and establish a Special Rating Area for Cape St Francis” scenario.

This scenario will require a massive amount of work & commitment from a dedicated team but it may be the answer to some of our problems.  It will also allow us to address more than just the pothole issue.

What is a Special rating Area?

Unlike a Homeowners Association or a Body Corporate, where Trustees or Directors and an employed management team is responsible for collecting monthly contributions from its members (known as a levy) to pay for the upkeep of the estate; a Special Rating Area (SRA) functions with the aid of the local municipality. Members within the selected area will be legally obliged to pay the additional calculated rate to the local municipality, who will then proceed to pay the non-profit corporation (NPC) in charge of the upkeep of that SRA.

The concept of SRAs helps to strengthen the relationship between government and the private sector in order to promote the well-being of the selected area. It is rarely allocated by the local municipality alone, instead it must be requested by the property owners who wish for it.

The group of owners must draw up a business proposal and budget for their NPC and then seek out the written approvals of the property owners within the selected area. They can then submit their SRA application to the local municipality for approval.

Should the application be approved, the area will be titled as an SRA and the owners will be charged an additional rate (on a pro rata basis) calculated as a percentage of their property value on the entire SRA’s property value. So, should your property value make up 3% of the total area property value, then you will be responsible for paying 3% of the annual budget used to maintain the SRA.

Approval of a Residential SRA will only be received if more than 40% of the selected area’s base value consists of residential properties, and

The majority (currently 66%) of residential owners, or 51% of the total property value, within the selected area must agree with the SRA application.

You must establish a NPC in terms of the Companies Act (No. 71 of 2008), which may have no less than 3 Directors.

A Special Rating Area is outlined by Section 22 of the Municipal Property Rates Act (No. 6 of 2004). You can read the relevant section here: Municipal Property Rates Act

Some articles about SRA:

Moneyweb article

Private Property Article

Innovative use of a SRA

If we do decide that we would like to establish Cape St Francis as a SRA, people will have to rise to the challenge.  We will need to draw on all the experience and talent that we have in our community, so lawyers, accountants,engineers, environmental experts and hard workers BEWARE.

The “plug the Pothole” scenario is the third possible scenario and is solely focused on potholes.

This scenario will not come cheap. In this scenario we will negotiate with the Kouga Municipality and establish either a Service Level Agreement or a Memorandum of Understanding. These documents have to be in place before we can go forward as there are several legal implications to consider when we commence with plugging the potholes through our own programme. A Service Level Agreement or Memorandum of Understanding does include the possibility that the municipality will provide some of the material required, but we will have to negotiate the terms with the municipality once the community has decided on a way forward.

Until such time as we, as a community, have decided which route we would like to take, it is very difficult to attach a cost to this programme. Filling potholes in the correct way is a costly exercise. If we want to make a real impact we need to move away from the “pap & lap” efforts and do a proper job. We would prefer to have a trained and dedicated Cape St Francis team working under the guidance of a professional contractor.

The “Plug the Pothole” Scenario will include repair and grading of the dirt roads in the village.
This third scenario will require funds- the R150 yearly membership fee to the Civic Association will not be enough. We will have to ask for contributions towards the “Plug the Pothole an Intensive Care for our Roads Project”.

This Newsletter therefore aims to get a sense of which road (pun intended) the community would like to take. Please take a moment to complete the following poll.

Clearing the road verges – one small step forward

One of the problems identified as a big contributing factor to the state of our roads is the amount of overgrowth onto the road. Any road engineer will tell you that “water is your enemy” and that water needs to be channelled off the road surface as soon as possible. Overgrowth causes verge breakup and this in turn allows water to ingress underneath the tarred surface. The Civic Association therefore decided to start work at the bottom end of Da Gama road to clear the overgrowth and to ensure that water flowing from adjoining intersections can flow off the road. According to the road engineers we will only be able to deal with the bigger problems on Da Gama Road once we have solved the water problem.

Building & maintaining or database

Better communication with members & residents is one of the projects we have highlighted as part of the way forward.  This news update, the new Our Hood partnership, the SMS Alert and our presence on Twitter & Facebook are all part of the ongoing project.  But in order for us to get better, we need to keep our information up to date.  We get information from completed membership forms and we use previous data that has been collected over the years.   We are lucky to have gained a new executive committee member, Antoinette Grundling.  She has taken on the portfolio of Database & Membership Management. We do however need your assistance. Please take the time to complete the contact form below to ensure that we have your correct details.  We will not share your details with any other person, organisation or institution as per the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013.

If you have already completed this contact form you do not have to do it again.

If you are not a member of the Cape St Francis Civic Association yet, please join us: 2015 Membership Form


devicesWe are excited to announce that the Cape St Francis Civic Association will be using the   logo_no_slogan_blue_lrg platform as a tool to provide for communication among all of the residents of Cape St Francis.
OurHood is a free, private, digital platform that allows residents to communicate with each other in real time and to share important information. It also allows the Cape St Francis Civic Association to communicate with residents of Cape St Francis and vice versa. You can access OurHood from a computer, a smartphone or a tablet.
OurHood offers massive benefits:

  • As a private platform, the ‘Cape St Francis’ site is ONLY open to residents.
  • It is FREE.
  • Residents can easily post security alerts on the site and an email and/or SMS will then be sent to all the other Cape St Francis members, including Cape St Francis residents association, to keep them updated.
  • SMS notifications are completely free.

These are just some of the ways that this app can be used.

In order to make it even easier to sign up, we managed to verify the following list of e-mail addresses (click to download) Verified e-mail list (Your complete address does not appear on the list for privacy reasons).  If your address is on the list you will receive an invitation by email to join the Cape St Francis logo_no_slogan_blue_lrg site. Normally users have to have their addresses verified prior to gaining access but as the Cape St Francis Civic Association confirms that you are a “Capestfrancian” resident, migrant or immigrant, you have already been verified.

It is very simple to join, just a matter of clicking on a link and then following the instructions.
We urge you to join logo_no_slogan_blue_lrg  for Cape St Francis as it could really help to build a safer and stronger community.

If your e-mail address is not on the list, please do not fret, it may be that your service provider does not allow feedback to our Newsletter site and therefore we do not know if the newsletter has been delivered. You can either Sign Up by following the normal steps on the  logo_no_slogan_blue_lrg website, or send an e-mail to csfcivicassociation@gmail.com with the words Our Hood in the subject line.  We will then forward your verified mail to the team at OurHood.

Ourhood is a digital networking platform that connects communities to strengthen neighbourhoods and build a stronger, safer South Africa.

Neighbours can use OurHood to:

  • Post on a community noticeboard about anything from lost dogs to builder recommendations.
  • Report and read up on crime in their neighbourhood as it happens.
  • Find out what is happening from local music evenings, neighbourhood fun runs and weekly markets etc.
  • By, sell, or engage in collaborative consumption.
  • Find out about exclusive local deals.
  • Embracing the convenience of local services. Everyting from firewood and bottle store deliveries to pickup/drop-off laundry services.
  • Finding important numbers, including police, water, electricty, Telkom, City accounts etc.
  • Residents can see who else lives in their neighbourhood and directly communicate with each other.
  • Read post from the local representative or civil authority, from Neighbourhood Watch groups or CID (City Improvement District).


Access to each OurHood group is limited to the residents of that neighbourhood. As such they are private, secure networks, and online privacy is also vital. As the Cape St Francis Civic Association we will moderate comments on the site in partnership with the OurHood team.

Advertising of goods or services will not be allowed on the Notice Board.

It is our aim to ensure that users feel secure in sharing content as they would in conversations with friends.

To ensure that users feel safe online, each user must follow this signing up protocol:

  • Each user in a neighbourhood must verify their physical address.
  • Users will not be able to sign in without a verified account, which is attached to their full name.
  • Each user logs in using a unique password, and the website is encrypted by HTTPS.
  • Private information will NEVER be shared with advertisers.
  • To learn more about our Privacy Policy and users agreement, please see the FAQ section and read our Policy.
  • View our Help page if you are experiencing any problems with OurHood

Download the app via app_play or app_iosonto your smartphone or tablet or visit the logo_no_slogan_blue_lrg web-site to join “the hood.”


  1. Of the three options indicated above re potholes, 3 is in my viewpoint the quickest and easiest, but 2 is probably the more comprehensive long term relationship.

  2. I believe this is a complex topic, in addition it will require a high level of community support from the start if the SRA rout is even to be considered. It may be worth convening a rate payers meeting to discuss the many issues not covered in this document and to see where rate payers are in their thinking before going any further?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s