Mayor launches City-wide manhole cover replacement project

According to City of Johannesburg, broken or missing manhole covers have been the cause of over 200 deaths since 2014 in Joburg.

Over R1 million has been re-prioritised from the City’s budget to replace manhole covers with new ones that have no resale value.

This should hopefully keep the lid on hundreds of manhole covers being stolen annually.

Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba fits a new manhole cover.

Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba launched this replacement project on 10 August in the inner city. Along with Transport MMC, Nonhlanhla Makhuba, the first of 4 000 uncovered manhole covers were replaced.

The replacement process took a team of workers, including the mayor and MMC, an hour to complete.

“This project forms part of the City’s future network upgrades plan, which aims to improve our road infrastructure which is an essential component for boosting our City’s economy and creating job opportunities,” Mashaba said.

“By ensuring that businesses can transport their goods and reach consumers and that our residents are able to safely move across the City, we will be a step closer to reaching our goal of achieving 5 per cent economic growth within the City by 2021.”

The project, which will expand across the city, is expected to be completed by 15 December.


Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba helps to remove old manhole covers in Joburg.

In prioritising commuter safety, Mashaba said construction work will be carried out during off-peak times to fast-track planned upgrades with minimal impact on road users and pedestrians.

“Our administration has developed a comprehensive approach to the maintenance, development, and expansion of the City’s road network. The Johannesburg Roads Agency has been allocated an operating budget of R1.1 billion in the 2017/18 financial year and a three-year capital budget of R4 billion.”

While finalising the newly covered manhole, Mashaba remarked that Joburg’s inner city was once one of the most beautiful in the world. He said that this was not built by municipalities, but by the private sector.

“But private money has since left the city. We want to invite it back.”

But to get private sector investment in the city, basic infrastructure like manhole covers should be up to scratch. Mashaba especially needs the private sector to invest in affordable housing for many of the city’s homeless.

“As the new administration, we are going to take back the city for our poor residents.”

Johannesburg Roads Agency Benrose depot manager, Stanley Vilakazi, informs Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba and Transport MMC Nonhlanhla Makhuba how the new manhole covers work.



The issue of stolen manhole covers 

JRA rolling out alternative man-hole covers 

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Chantelle Fourie
Metro Reporter

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