Unemployed father fixes potholes to feed his family

Eric Nsembene get donations from motorists and taxi drivers for filling in potholes in Mamelodi

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Eric Nsembene gets donations from motorists and taxi drivers for fixing potholes on this busy road in Mamelodi. Photos: Warren Mabona

Eric Nsembene was retrenched from his job in construction six years ago and has struggled to find permanent employment. Recently Nsembene has been volunteering his time to fix a pothole-ridden road near his home in Mamelodi.

The 37-year-old gets donations from taxi drivers and motorists who use busy Tsamaya Avenue. He lives in a shack with his family in Riversand, about 800 metres away.

Nsembene told GroundUp that he uses stones, mud and water to fix the potholes during the day between Monday and Saturday. He said some passing motorists give him donations and he makes about R250 per day, he said.

“I use the money to support myself, my wife and our child. I was retrenched and life became difficult. So I decided to fix potholes in 2020 as many cars were struggling to move on this road.”

Nsembene said that Tsamaya Avenue is very busy and some of the potholes open up again after four or five days. “I go back and fix them again,” said Nsembene.

Taxi driver Ronald Baloyi said Nsembene’s work has saved him money as the road damaged to his vehicle. “He is helping us a lot and I give him money every day. I used to buy wheel bearings very often but that man has made my work easier,” said Baloyi.

Ward councillor Rabasotho Masupha said a project to fix the road came to a halt as a result of a legal dispute between the contractor and the Gauteng MEC for Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure, Jacob Mamabolo.

“Tsamaya Avenue will be fixed when the dispute ends or when another contractor is appointed,” said Masupha.

Nsembene says the money from donations helps him support his family.

TOPICS:  Transport

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