Residents fill potholes with plants

A group of Bulawayo residents have resorted to transplanting shrubs on potholes in the city`s roads to draw the attention of the city fathers to the bad state of the roads.

The attention seeking gimmick code named Operation #Gxumeka is a stance by a local initiative Better Bulawayo to lobby the local authority to attend to the bad state of the road.

Recently the city has been facing heavy rainfall which has affected the city`s road infrastructure.

In an interview with CITE, Khumbulani Maphosa, chairperson of Better Bulawayo Initiative said the operation was initiated to cajole the local authority into action.

‘’We are doing this operation to show the city leaders where the potholes are because they seem to be unaware of them,’’ said Maphosa.

“We have been trying to engage with our city leaders for the past month but they have done no action at all in repairing roads with potholes.”


He said potholes are dangerous to motorists and they need to be covered.

“Potholes are a danger to someone because you will be driving and trying to avoid hitting one and when you veer of the road you might cause an accident,” said Maphosa.

“The mayor drives past potholes on roads; the town clerk as well, even the councillors also drive past potholes but they are not taking action.”

He said operation Gxumeka will see to it that in every road where there is a pothole, a responsible citizen will plant a small shrub to warn motorists of potholes on the road.

Maphosa added: “Local authorities should have issued a statement alerting residents about the potholes, that way it would show they are at east trying to engage with us.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association (BPRA) acting coordinator Emmanuel Ndlovu said operation #Gxumeka is a strategy that is used to draw attention on the issue of potholes.

“This is one of the many ways to draw attention on the dangers of potholes across the city, just like someone deciding to sit on the road or bathing using the pothole water,” said Ndlovu.

“If council is failing to take initiative on issues affecting residents, why not take over as residents.”

However, Winos Dube chairperson of the Bulawayo United Residents’ Association (Bura) said relevant stakeholders should have been engaged by Better Bulawayo initiative in order to work together.

“As a residents’ association we should have been notified about this initiative and made to understand its purpose so that we fully support it,” said Dube.

“It is unfortunate that we do not understand how the planting of plants will prevent road accidents, as I am imagining a road filled with potholes with shrubs and motorists not knowing whether to avoid them or driving over them.”

The local authority was not readily available for a comment.

The strategy has been used worldwide to lobby their local authorities to fix their roads.

A South African woman became an internet sensation in 2014 when she was pictured taking a bath in a huge pothole in a highway road.

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